The Magic Forced A Game 7 Against The Cavs Despite 50 Points From Donovan Mitchell

The Orlando Magic defended their homecourt once again, and now, we have our first Game 7 of the 2024 NBA playoffs just a few days away. Orlando played host to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night with their season on the line, and thanks to a big performance by the team’s promising young trio, the Magic picked up a 103-96 win to even the series at three games each.

Franz Wagner and Donovan Mitchell looked like they were going to duel all night after one quarter. Wagner was brilliant, as he brought a scoring punch that the Magic desperately need, both in this series and going forward. He looked as comfortable with the ball in his hands as ever, going for 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting.

Despite this, 10 points and three assists from Mitchell helped keep the Cavs afloat, and Orlando’s lead was only 29-25 after the opening 12 minutes. The second quarter followed a similar script, with Wagner spearheading the Magic attack, Jalen Suggs and Paolo Banchero providing some additional offensive firepower, and Mitchell (along with Darius Garland) responding to keep Cleveland within arm’s length.

At the half, Orlando found itself up, 53-49. While the Magic hammered the Cavaliers from behind the three point line — the former shot 7-for-19 while the latter went a paltry 1-14 — Cleveland had a ton of success in the paint. As a team, the Cavs outscored the Magic in the paint by a 40-18 margin, despite the fact that Jarrett Allen did not play due to injury.

The start of the third quarter saw the Cleveland offense come to life. The team started the period on a 13-2 run, with nine of those points coming from Mitchell.

Orlando did manage to get a foothold back in the game, as they were able to respond and get the lead back down to one. But they couldn’t quite get back over the hump before the third came to an end, and over the final 32 seconds of the quarter, Mitchell scored a quick five points to hit the 30-point mark on the evening and give the Cavs a 78-73 lead heading into the final frame.

With their season on the brink, the Magic came out at the start of the fourth and immediately took the lead thanks to a 6-0 run, which included Cole Anthony making one of the plays of the night with an athletic layup to take the lead.

But Cleveland would not be deterred, and the two teams traded buckets back and forth for much of the quarter. Things were either tied or within a basket basically the entire time, and set the stage for one team to grab control if they could go on a mini-run. The Magic were able to get that, as a 9-2 run powered by Banchero with less than four minutes left opened up a 7-point lead.

The cushion ended up being enough, as the Cavaliers were unable to get anyone other than Mitchell on the scoreboard over the game’s final 12 minutes. It was, once again, a difficult loss for the Cavs, which wasted a 50-point night from Mitchell, who scored the team’s final 22 points on the night. Garland was able to pitch in 21, while Max Strus had 10.

As for the Magic, Banchero had 27 points and eight rebounds, Wagner had 26 points and five rebounds, and Suggs had 22 points, six rebounds, and four assists. It was the sort of breakout performance on a national stage for the young trio that unsurprisingly earned comparisons to an old trio out in Oklahoma City.

Game 7 between the Cavs and the Magic will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EST.