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Magic can't overcome miserable shooting performance in Game 1 playoff loss to Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) — Statistically speaking, the Orlando Magic entered the playoffs with the worst offense of any team in the field.

They lived up — or in this case, down — to their billing.

Orlando had four players miss every attempt, and the Magic made only 33% of their shots in a 97-83 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opener of their Eastern Conference series on Saturday.

The Magic were ranked last in the NBA this season in 3-pointers, and went just 8 of 37 behind the arc against the Cavs. They weren't much better from the foul line as Orlando went 19 of 30 on free throws in a game they trailed from opening tip to final horn.

Orlando was on point defensively, playing its usual tough brand of ball. But when the Magic had to score, that's when things went astray.

“When you go 19 of 30 on free throws and 8 for 37 on 3-pointers, it’s hard to make up ground,” said Magic coach Jamahl Mosley. "We hang our hat on defense, and holding a team to 97 points is a good job. The question is how do we clean up some of the things on offense for the next game?”

One of the league's youngest teams, Orlando lacks playoff experience. But that wasn't nearly as big a factor as the Magic's inability to put the ball in the basket.

Starting guards Jalen Suggs (4 of 16) and Gary Harris (0 of 6) went a combined 4 of 22, including 1 of 12 on 3s. Cole Anthony was 0 for 7 and Markelle Fultz 0 for 4, meaning Orlando's backcourt was 4 for 33 from the field.

In his playoff debut, All-Star forward Paolo Banchero was 9 of 17 from the floor in 41 minutes, but he offset a decent shooting performance with nine turnovers, one shy of the franchise postseason record.

“I thought I played OK, but I was loose with the ball," said Banchero. "I was super anxious, super excited. I had nine of our 12 turnovers — and I don’t plan to do that ever again. It’s the first game of the playoffs, so we kind of expected to have these miscues and mistakes.

"We’re locked in. You can’t overreact from one game.”

Despite their atrocious shooting, the Magic cut a 20-point deficit to nine in the fourth quarter but either couldn't come up with the big stop when they needed one or get a shot to fall.

“We were not playing our best basketball, but we were still in the game,” said Franz Wagner, who scored 18. "For the most part, I thought we made the right plays. We have to make shots to win, and I’m confident we’ll do that the next game.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Tom Withers, The Associated Press