The Cleveland Cavaliers have been viewed as inhospitable hosts throughout the early part of the season.
They’ll look to continue to be seen in that light on Friday when they host the Orlando Magic, who have been very accommodating guests in 2022-23.
Off to their best start at home since 2016-17, the Cavaliers improved to 9-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse with a convincing 113-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
“For us to take the next step, we’ve got to take it on the road and play the same way,” said Caris LeVert, who scored 22 points on Wednesday. “That’s something we’re working on and I think we’re finding our rhythm as a group. When one of us has it going, like I did tonight, we keep finding them.”
Darius Garland recorded 21 points and nine assists and Donovan Mitchell added 18 and six, respectively, in the lopsided win.
Evan Mobley excelled at both ends of the court on Wednesday.
Defensively, Mobley helped limit 76ers star Joel Embiid to his second-lowest point total (19) and second-worst shooting percentage (37.5) of the season. Offensively, the 21-year-old Mobley made 8 of 10 shots from the floor to finish with 16 points.
“We tell him all the time he can do whatever he wants on the offensive end because we know what he does on the defensive end, and he has to get rewarded for that,” Garland said, per Cleveland.com. “When he goes to his isolation game and pullups off the dribble, we love that for him. I think we see him make it all the time in practice and we want him to start being more aggressive and being assertive in his offensive game. Just believe in it because his package is crazy.”
The Magic received a first-hand look at Mobley’s all-around game when they visited the Cavaliers on Oct. 26. He made 9 of 15 shots from the floor to finish with 20 points in Cleveland’s 103-92 victory over Orlando.
Top overall draft pick Paolo Banchero collected 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists in that game for the Magic, who fell to 0-4 away from home at that point. Orlando’s results on the road have only gotten marginally better since then.
The Magic dropped to 1-9 away from home after a 109-102 setback at Brooklyn on Monday. They followed that up by losing their sixth game in a row overall with a 125-108 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Orlando, however, saw the returns of Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony against the Hawks. Fultz made his season debut after being sidelined with a fractured toe, while Anthony missed 17 games due to a torn right oblique.
Fultz finished with eight points, four assists and two steals, while Anthony totaled 11 points, four rebounds and two assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
“It’s great to have guards back on the floor,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “A lot of it is going to be a rhythm for these guys. Because they’re back in the lineup, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to fall back into the puzzle piece right away. They’ve got to develop a chemistry, how they play with the guys in the lineup — we’re going to have to keep looking at that.”