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Magic topple Cavaliers to snap five-game skid

Jan 23, 2007 - 4:59 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers were happy to be home, but they played like they were still carrying their luggage.

Grant Hill scored 22 points as the Orlando Magic posted a 90-79 victory over the road-weary Cavaliers.

Dwight Howard rebounded from the worst game of his career with 18 points and 13 rebounds to help the Magic snap a five-game losing streak.

Cleveland was returning from a seven-game road trip that concluded with a 106-104 win at Golden State on Saturday night and hardly looked like the same team that had compiled a 15-3 home mark this season.

"They had a tough road trip and it was one those scheduling games where we knew if we just came out and played hard, maybe we could wear them out," Hill said.

The Magic shot 54.5 percent (36-of-66), dominated the backboards, 43-31, and watched the listless Cavaliers make just 15-of-27 free throws in halting a six-game game on Cleveland's home floor.

LeBron James scored 18 points to lead the Cavaliers, who shot just 39 percent (29-of-74). He managed just five points in the second half.

"Mentally, we tried to tell ourselves we weren't tired, but it was tough," James admitted. "It was just one of those kind of games where we just didn't have it. We've just got to try and get some rest. Everybody's sleeping pattern is off."

"I could tell in the fourth quarter, guarding LeBron, I could tell he was a little tired," Hill said. "In fairness to him, he can't do it every time, even when he's feeling good."

Coming off a one-point game in which he missed all six shots on Saturday night in a 101-94 loss to New Jersey, Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds to help Orlando take a 54-38 lead at the half. He finished 7-of-10 from the field.

Cleveland showed signs of life with a 6-0 spurt in the second quarter that cut the deficit to 42-34, prompting Orlandlo coach Brian Hill to call a timeout and then berate his team while smashing a clipboard.

"I think it was more they understood that they weren't playing as hard as they could and they were making some silly mistakes," Brian Hill said. "We just had to nip it in the bud.

It seemed to work as the Magic responded by scoring 12 of the final 16 points of the half.

"I was actually surprised when he did it," said Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who scored 11 points. "He got our attention. Tonight it worked. Hopefully, he doesn't have to do that anymore, be in that situation when he gets that frustrated."

Cleveland never got closer than eight points in the second half and trailed by double digits the entire fourth quarter.

Larry Hughes and Damon Jones each had 16 points for Cleveland, which fell into a tie with Detroit atop the Central Division.

"Usually a team senses (when you are coming off a long road trip) and they come in and try to run up and down, see where you're at," Hughes said. "They didn't really run. They didn't come in and try to run. I think they gave us a chance."

  • ORLANDO (90)
    fg ft rb
    min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp
    H Turkoglu 33:23 3-9 0-0 0-2 2 2 6
    T Battie 22:58 2-3 0-0 1-4 0 3 4
    D Howard 34:16 7-10 4-8 3-13 2 4 18
    G Hill 33:50 8-12 6-9 0-5 1 3 22
    J Nelson 33:44 4-11 2-2 0-5 6 3 11
    D Milicic 21:12 4-7 1-2 2-9 0

    Jan 22 9:48 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 71

    Jan 22 8:58 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 54

    Jan 22 8:12 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 26

    Jan 22 7:39 PM