NBA playoffs: Donovan Mitchell’s 39-point outburst fuels second-half comeback, Game 7 win over Magic

Donovan Mitchell did it again and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Mitchell didn’t score 50 points like he did in Game 6 on Friday. But he scored 39 points in Game 7 on Sunday afternoon in the Cavs’ 106-94 win over the Orlando Magic. Cleveland won the first round playoff series 4-3.

Early on, Mitchell again had little help. And for the second straight game, he carried the Cavs. Despite Jalen Suggs playing tough defense against him, Mitchell put together another superstar performance. In the first half, Mitchell shot 15 points on 3-of-13 shooting. But he went hard on the chugs to come back with 17 points in the third.

Caris LeVert added 15, Max Strauss had 13 and Darius Garland had 12 for the Cavaliers, who gave Mitchell more support than he got in Friday’s loss. Evan Mobley led the defensive effort with 16 rebounds and five blocks.

The home team won every game of the seven-game series. After beating Cleveland in Games 3 and 4, Orlando seemed to take control. And in Game 6, the Cavs couldn’t even score 100 despite Mitchell’s 50 points.

Cleveland trailed by 18 points in the second quarter and looked like a team with almost nothing. However, they cut the deficit to 10 points at halftime, 53-43, and came back to take a 65-64 lead. The Cavaliers outscored Orlando 33-15 in the third quarter to take a 76-68 lead into the fourth.

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Outside shooting continued to be a major issue for the Cavaliers in the first half. They went 2-for-11 (17.8%) from behind with Sam Merrill hitting both.

Still, Strus hit two three-pointers to help the rally effort overcome Cleveland’s long-range struggles. And a three from Garland gave the Cavs a huge lead, 88-77, with less than six minutes left in the game.

If Paulo Banchero wasn’t already an NBA star on the way, the Magic tried to announce his presence in Game 7 of his first playoff game, putting the season at risk.

During ESPN’s halftime show, Stephen A. As Smith said, “Brother is great.” Banchero, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, scored 38 points with 16 rebounds and three steals in a losing effort. This time he did not get enough help from his teammates.

Banchero scored just four points in the third quarter, with Isaac Okoro checking him and going 1-for-7. Almost disappearing from a scoring standpoint was a significant factor in Cleveland’s comeback.

Wendell Carter Jr. totaled 13 points and Suggs added 10, but no other Magic player hit double figures. Franz Wagner, who had scored double-digit points in each of the previous six games of the series, had 34 in Game 4 and 26 in Game 6. Wagner scored just six points, going 1-for-14 from the field (and 0-for-5 from three).

Game 1 of the Cavaliers-Celtics second-round series is scheduled for Tuesday. Tip-off airs on TNT at 7 p.m. ET.

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