The red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers seek their eighth consecutive win when they visit the Orlando Magic on Monday.
Cleveland extended its longest winning streak of the season on Saturday with a 116-95 rout of Atlanta, the first of four straight road games for the Cavaliers.
The win also marked the third straight in which Cleveland held its opponent to fewer than 100 points, and the fourth time amid the current winning streak. Each of the Cavaliers’ last three wins was by 18 points or more.
Thanks to its recent defensive dominance, Cleveland is allowing 110 points per game, second fewest in the NBA.
Cleveland has outscored its opponent at the end of the first quarter in six of the last seven games, and led by double-digit-point margins heading into the second quarter five times.
The Cavaliers are winning despite missing Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, who are both sidelined due to injury. Garland — the team’s second-leading scorer at 20.7 points and tied with Donovan Mitchell for first in assists at 5.9 – last played Dec. 14 due to a broken jaw.
Mobley, averaging 16 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, last played Dec. 6 due to a knee injury. Bickerstaff said on Saturday both are nearing return.
Mitchell has carried the scoring load, scoring at least 31 points in three of the last four games while Caris LeVert increased his production coming off the bench.
LeVert has scored at least 21 points in five of his last nine games before missing Saturday’s matchup with a wrist injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
Orlando heads into Monday’s contest after its own outstanding defensive showing, winning the first leg of its back-to-back set on Sunday, 105-87 against Miami. The 87 points were the second fewest the Magic allowed in any game this season, and the win ended a two-game skid for Orlando.
The Magic had lost five of their last six games heading into Sunday, and eight of their previous 11. Franz Wagner scored 19 points in his return Sunday after missing eight games due to an ankle sprain. Paolo Banchero had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Banchero scored 42 points when the Magic lost to the Cavaliers 121-111 on Dec. 6. He scored 20 points and Wagner had 19 in the last meeting against Cleveland, a 104-94 win on Dec. 11.