A NEW LOW
CAVS HOLD MAGIC TO NBA-WORST 57 POINTS
By L.C. Johnson | Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 04, 1996 | Home Game
Forget about stingy. The Magic ran into a Cleveland Cavaliers team that was downright miserly.
The Magic were held to a franchise low in scoring while losing a rematch with the Cavs, 84-57, Wednesday night at Orlando Arena.
The 57 points also tied an all-time scoring low in the NBA since the advent of the 24-second shot clock. The 76ers tied the record late last season in a loss to the Miami Heat. The record was originally set by Milwaukee in a loss to Boston in 1955.
The Cavs specialize in causing their opponents to experience offensive futility. Entering Wednesday's game, they were allowing a league-low 81.5 points per game. That included a 73-63 victory over Atlanta.
''The 57 points or whatever, we knew that we were in the vicinity (of a record),'' said Gerald Wilkins, who led the Magic with 10 points. ''Man, it was wild out there tonight. We played against a good defensive team, and things just weren't clicking.
''You have to just try to put it behind you personally, professionally and then laugh it off. There is no sense in beating a dead horse. Scoring all over the league is down this year. It just so happens that we scored the lowest.''
On Saturday, the Magic went to Cleveland and posted an 86-82 victory at Gund Arena. In that game, the Cavs lost the services of coach Mike Fratello and guard Bob Sura, a former Florida State standout, by ejections.
Both of them stood around to see this game in its entirety, which is more than can be said of the disgusted O-rena crowd. The fans began heading for the exits with just under 5 minutes left in the game and the Magic trailing, 73-49, after a layup by Chris Mills.
The Magic were coming off their most disappointing loss of the season, a 108-102 overtime setback to Dallas. The back-to-back losses have lowered the Magic's home-court record to 4-5.
''This was a totally different game than last game,'' Magic coach Brian Hill said. ''The only thing that bothered me a little bit tonight was I'm not sure we came out in the beginning of the game really believing we could win the basketball game.''
This is not exactly the way that Hill was hoping to leave home as his team eyes a 10-day, five-game West Coast road trip, which begins Friday in Los Angeles vs. former Magic center Shaquille O'Neal and the Lakers.
''I just saw too much indecisiveness and lack of aggression out there early in the game,'' Hill said. ''That's the only thing I don't want to see. I don't care who we put out there on the floor. We have to believe that we can always win the game.''
Hill has other problems to worry about in just trying to piece a starting lineup together. On Wednesday, the Magic were facing their seventh game in the past 10 days. Making matters worse, guards Nick Anderson, Penny Hardaway and forward Dennis Scott were dressed in street clothes on the Magic's bench as they attempt to return from various injuries.
None are likely to play in Friday's game, though there is a chance that they may suit up at some point during the upcoming trip. During Wednesday's game, Derek Strong had tendinitis flare up in his left ankle and was limited to 17 minutes.
The Magic blew a nine-point lead in the final 2 minutes of regulation Monday while losing in overtime to the Mavericks. In this game, the Magic had a difficult time staying within nine points of the Cavs.
Cleveland held a 62-42 lead on a basket by Sura with 1:24 left in the third quarter. The Magic scored the final four points of the quarter on consecutive baskets by Strong and Wilkins to close within 16 entering the fourth quarter.
''We feel like because we've got so many injuries and things are going on and we've got to shuffle (the lineup) and we haven't had any practice time, that it's going to be this way,'' Wilkins said. ''We've got to play through this. We've got to find a way.
''Now they're going to cut down what little options we have, and that will make it a little bit harder on us. That's going to be the style for us and we're going to have to play through it.''
Cleveland seemed determined not to let the Magic seize any momentum, keeping the tempo and the scoring exactly where the Cavs wanted it. by halftime, the Magic had been limited to 32.
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