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Waiters scores 26 as Cavs beat Magic 119-98

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm •  Published: April 2, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — At this point in the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to make one last run at the playoffs and the Orlando Magic are looking for luck in the NBA draft lottery.

Both improved their chances of reaching those goals Wednesday night as the Cavaliers beat the Magic 119-98 behind 26 points from Dion Waiters and 20 each from Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson.

The easy win moved the Cavaliers within two games of New York and Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs play at Atlanta Friday night.

"This was a big game for us, but every game is big because of the position we've put ourselves in," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "There is nothing tricky that we have to do. We just have to out and play hard and give ourselves a chance."

Waiters shot 10 for 15 from the field, including 3 for 3 on 3-pointers.

"We've still got a chance, we just need to take full advantage of it," he said. "We came in knowing we should get a win, but every game is hard. We have no choice at this point. We control our own destiny. Everybody knows what is at stake. We just have to stay focused."

It helped the Cavaliers that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving returned with a thump in his step after missing the last eight games with a torn bicep muscle. Irving had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a seemless transition from the bench to the court.

"Kyrie came in and got right in step with us," Brown said. "He helped us get the ball up the floor quickly and get into our attack. He gave us another weapon with a very high skill level."

The Magic had little to be satisfied with other than solidifying their lottery spot with the third-worst record in the NBA.

The Magic gave up 70 points in the first half, the best half all season for Cleveland and the most points Orlando has allowed in a half this year.

"There is going to be a game in the course of the year where you just don't have it and when it's coupled with a team like the Cavs who had it ... it just wasn't a good mix," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Some days, it's just not your day."

The Magic placed only one starter, Maurice Harkless, in double figures and he had 10 points. Rookie Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 16 points, Doron Lamb had 14, Tobias Harris 11 and E'Twaun Moore 10, all off the bench.

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