Cavaliers Give Gift of Giveaways in Falling to Magic

Sam Amico

CLEVELAND -- It's hard to win in the NBA when you handle the ball as if it's a hot-buttered turkey.

That's basically the story behind the Cavaliers' ugly 116-104 loss to Orlando in front of 17,172 on Thanksgiving eve.

And the Magic must have left feeling thankful, as the Cavs gifted them with 25 points off a season-high 25 turnovers.

How's that for the giving spirit this holiday season?

"You have 25 turnovers in a game, you're not going to win," Cavs coach John Beilein said. "I have to figure it out because you can't win like that."

Rookie guard Darius Garland committed eight of the turnovers, several of which were the result of traveling violations. It overshadowed what was an otherwise strong performance. Garland also finished with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Beilein noted that Garland was "frustrated with himself," but let's face it, the first-year player was hardly alone. Backcourt-mate Collin Sexton committed five turnovers, and overall, the Cavs (5-13) came out flat in what should have been a winnable game.

After all, the Magic (7-10) were missing two starters in All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and forward Aaron Gordon, and Kevin Love returned for the Cavs.

Everything was set up for the Cavs to win. Or so it seemed.

"Everybody is longer than us, everybody is taller than us, and it's just difficult," Beilein said. "It's difficult for our guys to see who is open, ball handling, everything."

He added that the Cavs are going to take a training camp-type of approach moving forward, as an effort to return to focusing on the game's basics.

"There was some really sloppy play, especially in the second half," Beilein said. "Disappointing way to spend Thanksgiving after that performance."

Sexton led the Cavs with 20 points and a season-high six assists. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Cedi Osman scored 14 and Tristan Thompson had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and battled his way to a game-high 15 rebounds.

Larry Nance Jr. added 11 points and 10 boards for his third straight double-double. Love scored just nine after returning from a two-game absence with a lower back contusion.

Basically, the Cavs didn't play that badly. There were some defensive lapses and a few missed shots -- but it was the turnovers that were the true killer. 

In the end, it resulted in a second straight home loss and eighth in nine games overall.

"We have to do a better job of reading what the defense is allowing," Thompson said. "Sometimes we were over-penetrating or driving into a crowd. ... That's all stuff that we can control. That's not (a lack of) talent. That's stuff you can fix from within."

Reputed Cavs killer Evan Fournier scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Magic. Terence Ross and Jonathan Isaac added 16 apiece. Mo Bamba pumped in 15 points and made all five of his 3-point attempts. Thompson called Bamba the difference in the game.