For the Orlando Magic, the 2017-18 season would serve as their sixth straight losing campaign. For the fifth time during that stretch, the Magic failed to win 30 games.
Early on, however, there was much to feel good about. The Magic picked up their first road win from that season on this day five years ago with a 114-93 rout of the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Magic were 1-1 for the season, but on a 17-game losing streak to Cleveland as they arrived at Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 21, 2017. Led by LeBron James and Kevin Love, the Cavaliers were off to a 2-0 start.
But on that night, Orlando dominated from the start, racing to a 36-18 lead after one quarter. The Cavaliers managed to cut the deficit to 11 by halftime and by seven midway through the third period. With the Magic lead down to 65-58, Orlando responded with a 14-0 run, spurred by five points from Evan Fournier and four from Nikola Vucevic.
From there, the Magic cruised. While James was largely regarded as the NBA’s best player, it was Vucevic, the Orlando center, who had the best night.
Vucevic led all scorers with 23 points on an efficient 11-for-16. As a team, the Magic shot 17-for-35 from deep. Jonathon Simmons was 3-for-5 from downtown, scoring 19 points off the bench. Fournier, D.J. Augustin, Mario Hezonja, and Marreese Speights chipped in with 13, 12, 11, and 10 points, respectively.
James led Cleveland with 22 points while Love added 19 and a game-high nine rebounds. Iman Shumpert came up with 21 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, but no one else scored more than seven. As a team, Cleveland shot just 38% from the field and 7-for-25 from distance.
The Magic would get off to a 4-1 start that season, but would finish just 25-57. The win over the Cavaliers was the first since an April 2012 road victory to clinch a playoff spot. It came on this day five years ago.