Isaiah Thomas hits big free throws to avert Cavs collapse vs Magic and end four-game slump
Isaiah Thomas goes for a steal. AP

ISAIAH Thomas hit the go-ahead free throws to avert the Cleveland Cavaliers meltdown after blowing a 23-point early lead to beat the Orlando Magic, 104-103, and end a four-game slump on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

The Cavs led 60-43 late in the second quarter before the Magic sizzled in the third and Shelvin Mack put Orlando on top, 103-102, with 31 seconds to go.

But after Kevin Love missed a dunk on the next play, Thomas picked up the offensive board and got fouled in the act of shooting by Mack. The Cavs guard calmly sank the crucial charities before Elfrid Payton missed a contested layup with three seconds left. The officials ruled there was an inadvertent whistle and held a jump ball at midcourt.

Magic forward Aaron Gordon grabbed the toss and sank an apparent game-winning 45-footer as the horn sounded and Cleveland's crowds shrieked in disbelief. But Gordon committed a jump-ball violation with the move and Cleveland then only had to inbound the ball to come away with a win..

Thomas led all scorers with 21 points, and LeBron James added 16 for the Cavs (27-17). Love added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Payton led the Magic (13-32) with 19 points, while Gordon and Evan Fournier each scored 17.  

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