Varejao leads Cavaliers past Magic 87-81 in OT

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm •  Published: January 2, 2014
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Anderson Varejao can't explain how the Cleveland Cavaliers broke their season-high six-game losing streak.

He's just glad they did.

Varejao played a major role, hitting two crucial jumpers in overtime and tying a franchise record with a career-high 25 rebounds to give his struggling team a lift in an 87-81 victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.

"I still don't know how we won that game," he said. "It was crazy, but I'll take it."

The Cavaliers played without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his first game this season because of a bruised left knee. Irving averages a team-high 22.2 points for the Cavaliers, who trailed 78-68 with just over a minute and a half to play.

Thanks to crucial Orlando mistakes and some big plays of their own, the Cavaliers tied the game on Dion Waiters' layup with 0.6 seconds remaining and dominated the extra session.

Varejao's basket with 2:07 remaining in OT put Cleveland ahead 83-81. He added another basket with 1:34 left and hit two free throws with 23.9 seconds remaining to finish with 18 points.

"He was a problem for us all night," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "He's relentless. Give him credit for going hard the whole game."

Varejao's big night was no surprise to his teammates.

"We expect that of him," Waiters said. "He's a rebounding machine."

Glen Davis scored 16 points for the Magic, who scored only two points in overtime and couldn't hold the 10-point lead with 1:34 to play in regulation.

"We blew it, bottom line," Magic forward Tobias Harris said. "It was a tough, tough loss. The whole game, we thought it was ours. These are the ones we need to win. Very tough loss."

A basket by Varejao and two free throws by Waiters made it 79-72 with 50 seconds remaining. Jarrett Jack, starting in place of Irving, cut the lead to 79-75 by hitting three foul shots with 13.9 seconds remaining. After Orlando was called for a 5-second violation trying to inbound the ball, Waiters' basket cut the lead to 79-77 with 10.1 seconds left.

E'Twaun Moore missed two free throws and Cleveland was awarded the ball with 9.3 seconds left after a video review. Waiters took the inbounds pass and drove down the left of the lane to tie the game.

Jameer Nelson's 3-point attempt from the corner bounced off the rim and the teams went to overtime.

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