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James scores 25 points, Cavaliers roll past Magic 111-76

Tobias Harris, LeBron James

Tobias Harris, LeBron James


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The Cleveland Cavaliers returned one of their key players on Friday night.

It turned out they didn’t need much from him.

LeBron James had 25 points and eight assists and the Cavaliers rolled past the Orlando Magic 111-76 on Friday night.

Timofey Mozgov added 17 points as Cleveland claimed its 12th straight win over the Orlando.

The game marked the season debut of Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, who had been out since injuring his right wrist before training camp. He played 25 minutes and made 5 of 7 shots while scoring 14 points.

“It was great to see him back to himself, catching lobs, blocking shots, being aggressive,” James said of Shumpert. “We needed that from him. I know he’s very excited about the way he played tonight. He should be.”

James limped off the court in the first quarter after taking a shot to his quadriceps. But he was able to return after a short rest.

“It’s the second time it’s happened this year and it’s not a great feeling,” James said. “I know I’m going to feel it tonight and tomorrow, but it’s mind over matter at this point, and I was happy I was able to sit in the game in the second half.”

Cleveland never trailed in the game, breaking it open with a spurt late the second quarter. The Cavs started the third quarter with a 20-4 run and led by as many as 40 in the second half.

Shumpert, who played with an outline of “90" shaved into the back of his head in honor of his birth year, said he was comfortable all night.

“It felt great. It was all worth it, the extra work, the extra running, all the trash talk from my teammates to get me ready,” Shumpert said. “I feel good. I could have played some more.”

Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 14 points.

Orlando has lost three of its last four since posting a season-best five-game win streak that put it over .500 for the first time this season.

After being relatively quiet for most of the first half, James caught fire just before halftime, scoring 12 points during a 14-1 Cavaliers’ run that put Cleveland up by 20.

Eight of James’ points during the run came after the Magic inserted rookie Mario Hezonja into the game for the first time.

James quickly exploited the matchup, completing a three-point play after being fouled by Hezonja on a fast break. A few possessions later, he posted up the rookie and slid under him for another basket.

The Magic entered the night averaging 101 points per game, but struggled offensively throughout.

Starters Tobias Harris and Channing Frye were each held scoreless, going a combined 0 for 8 from the field.

“We didn’t hit a lot of shots,” Magic guard Victor Oladipo said. “They played well. It is what it is. We got to move on now.”


Cavaliers: James’ eight assists led to 19 points. ... Cleveland outscored the Magic 31-17 in the second quarter and 30-15 in the third. ... The Cavaliers were plus-18 points with James on the floor in the first half.

Magic: The loss was Orlando’s largest margin of defeat this season. The previous was a 117-103 loss at Cleveland Nov. 23. ... The Magic held a moment of silence before tip-off for Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, who died at age 87 on Thursday.


Cavaliers coach David Blatt said point guard Kyrie Irving is getting close to a return from the broken left kneecap he sustained in last season’s NBA Finals, but he couldn’t yet say exactly when he would make his season debut. Blatt said he won’t rush either Irving or Shumpert into playing a lot of minutes initially.

“Ultimately those guys are going to be playing because those guys were starters for us,” Blatt said. “But right off the bat? That’s hard to say. You can’t really know how they’re going to respond to game conditions.”


Spurs coach Gregg Popovich grabbed some attention this week when he compared the 3-pointer to a circus shot that he would probably never fully embrace. Magic coach Scott Skiles said it might be impossible not to embrace it.

“It’s almost like pointless to discuss it because it’s there, and if you don’t use it you’re foolish,” Skiles said.


Cavaliers: Visit the Celtics on Tuesday.

Magic: Visit the Nets on Monday.