for this game

Two of East's best square off when Cavs visit Magic

Jan 29, 2009 - 11:20 AM Cleveland (35-8) at Orlando (34-10) 8:00 p.m. EST

ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The battle for the Eastern Conference has turned into a three-team race.

Two of those teams duel on Thursday when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Orlando Magic.

The Cavaliers have surged past the defending champion Boston Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference and NBA standings with four straight wins, including a 117-110 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

With the win, Cleveland improved to 21-0 at home this season, and finding victories on the road has also come easily of late.

After enduring a 105-88 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on January 19, the Cavaliers closed a four-game road trip with three consecutive wins, recording at least 102 points in each contest.

The highlight of the swing came on Friday when LeBron James' 20-footer at the buzzer lifted Cleveland to a 106-105 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

James, who is the NBA's second-leading scorer at 28 points per game, needs a strong performance against a potent Magic offense.

Orlando is averaging 101.6 points a contest - eighth most in the league - and following a pair of losses that saw the team scored 80 and 97 points, respectively, it got back on track Tuesday with a 135-111 drubbing of the Indiana Pacers.

Mickael Pietrus, who had missed the previous 12 games with a broken wrist, recorded a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds to post his first double-double of the campaign in his first action since December 29.