Franz Wagner scores 34, leads Magic to second straight rout of Cavaliers to tie series at 2-2


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — By the time Franz Wagner finished outscoring Cleveland by himself in the third quarter, what had been a competitive game turned into another rout in this series between the Orlando Magic and Cavaliers.

Wagner had 34 points and 13 rebounds, and the Magic held the Cavaliers scoreless for a second-half stretch of almost seven minutes, cruising to a 112-89 victory Saturday that tied the Eastern Conference first-round series at 2-2.

After putting up 60 points in the first half, Cleveland was outscored 37-10 in the third quarter and managed only 29 points in the second half.

Asked if he had ever seen a more dominant defensive quarter, Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said: “I’d have to look that one up.”

Wagner had 10 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter and finished with 12 in the period, when the Cavaliers missed 14 of their 18 shots.

“Once we came back from that nine-point deficit starting the third, and they took that timeout, I felt like OK, the momentum is swinging in our direction,” Magic big man Jonathan Isaac said.

It never swung back.

Game 4 of the series will be Tuesday night in Cleveland, where the No. 4-seeded Cavaliers won the first two by double digits before getting blown out twice in Florida.

“They held home court just like we did,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Now we get an opportunity to go home and play a best-of-three series with two games in Cleveland. We’ve got areas where we can change some things, fix some things, but I know our guys will be ready to go on Tuesday night.”

Isaac (14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) and Markelle Fultz (12 points, four rebounds) gave the Magic major help off the bench. Paolo Banchero, who had 35 points in Orlando’s 121-83 win in Game 3 on Thursday night, finished with nine points and five assists in his first single-digit scoring game since Nov. 29.

Jarrett Allen had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers. Donovan Mitchell had 18 points, all in the first half.

“Ten points (in a quarter) is outrageous,” Donovan said. “We have to be better. I have to be better. I’m disappointed in myself, so it’s on me. You can’t have 18 points in the first half and zero in the second, and only four shots.”

Including the games in this series, the Magic have won six straight at home while losing six straight on the road.

“We’re not satisfied at all,” Wagner said. “We just got two wins. We need two more against them so we’ve got to stay locked in and try to get the next one in Cleveland.”

Wagner opened the second half by converting a Cleveland turnover into a layup and hitting a jump shot from the free throw line. He added a 3-pointer and a three-point play on a five-minute, 17-6 run that put Orlando up 68-67.

“Obviously he’s incredible,” said Wagner’s brother Mo, who contributed seven points and four rebounds. “His awareness, his control of the game is just great. He started off the game distributing the ball and let the game come to him.

“I’ve got to drive home with him so I want to keep it in check. I don’t want to exaggerate here, but that was one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”

The Magic finished the quarter with 14 straight points, and three straight baskets by Franz Wagner stretched their lead to 24 early in the fourth quarter.

Max Strus’ 3-pointer with 5:26 left in the third quarter accounted for the Cavs’ final points of the period. They did not score again until Caris LeVert’s jumper with 10:40 left in the fourth.

“They protected home court and we’ve got to do the same thing. It’s as simple as that,” said Mitchell, whose big finish to the first half put the Cavaliers up 60-51.

The game included several minor skirmishes, including a Jalen Suggs-Darius Garland face-to-face confrontation and a fourth-quarter flagrant foul on Strus for holding up Cole Anthony on a dunk attempt.

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