Home Sports NBA Playoffs: Donovan Mitchell’s 39 points fuel furious second-half comeback and Game 7 win over Magic

NBA Playoffs: Donovan Mitchell’s 39 points fuel furious second-half comeback and Game 7 win over Magic

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 5: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after fouling out in the first quarter against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter of game seven of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on May 5. 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, the user agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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

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

At first, Mitchell again had little help. However, for the second straight game, he beat the Cavs. Even though Jalen Suggs defended him harshly, Mitchell turned in another superstar performance. In the first half, Mitchell was 3 of 13 for 15 points. But he worked hard against Suggs to score 17 points in the third and spark the comeback.

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

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

Outside shooting continued to be a major issue for the Cavaliers in the first half. They shot just 2 of 11 (17.8%) from behind the arc and Sam Merrill hit both. However, Max Strus hit two 3-pointers to break Cleveland’s long-range woes and help the comeback effort. And a three-pointer by Darius Garland gave the Cavs their biggest lead at 88–77 with just under six minutes left in the game.

If Paolo Banchero had not already arrived as an NBA star, he attempted to announce his presence in his first Game 7 of the playoffs with the Magic’s season on the line.

Banchero, the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, scored 38 points with 16 rebounds and three steals to lead the Cavs’ home rout. As Stephen A. Smith said during the ESPN halftime show, “Brother is big.”

However, Banchero only scored four points in the frame, going 1-for-7 with Isaac Okoro controlling him. Virtually disappearing from a scoring standpoint was a significant factor in Cleveland’s comeback.

The first game of the Cavaliers-Celtics second-round series is scheduled for Tuesday. Kickoff is at 7 pm ET with the telecast on TNT.

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