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Donovan Mitchell Cavaliers produce Game 7 magic to defeat Orlando and advance to the conference semifinals

Donovan Mitchell Cavaliers produce Game 7 magic to defeat Orlando and advance to the conference semifinals

CLEVELAND – Whether or not Donovan MitchellLong term future with Cavaliers In doubt, the city now belongs to him.

Mitchell, Khalifa LeBron James In Cleveland in more ways than one, he led the franchise to its first playoff series win without The King since 1993 in a 106-94 win over Orlando Magic In Game 7 of their first round series.

Mitchell, after having 50 points in a Game 6 loss, would not be denied Sunday as he had 24 of his 39 points in the second half, swayed by deafening “MVP” chants from a raucous, frothy crowd at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

“I told you at the beginning of the series, ‘This is why I’m here. It’s my job.’

“It’s an honor to be a part of history in that regard,” Mitchell added when asked about leading the Cavaliers to their first series win without LeBron in 31 years. “But the biggest thing is I told everyone in the locker room that it doesn’t really mean much. We didn’t put together (the team) that we made just to go in and win the first round.”

They will face top-seeded Cleveland Boston Celtics In the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 takes place at TD Garden in Boston at 7pm on Tuesday.

Paolo Banchero He finished the Magic’s tremendous first playoff series with 38 points and 16 rebounds. The 21-year-old became the youngest player to score more than 30 points in three games in the same playoff series.

Cleveland, winners of four straight Game 7 games (dating back to Game 7 of the 2016 Finals), trails by as many as 18 in the first half and by 10 in the first half. The Cavs’ comeback was their biggest in a Game 7 since at least 1998, according to Elias Sports.

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“They had a tough outing,” Magic coach Jamal Moseley said. “I thought they did a great job of forcing tough shots. Those tough shots and long shots led to runs out. We stagnated a little bit. We found something that worked, missed a couple shots and they were able to get out and get away. Donovan got down a little bit.”

Cleveland made a comeback in the fourth quarter of its final regular season game to ensure it finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and tied Orlando in the first round. On Sunday, the Cavaliers were 24 minutes into the game from regretting that decision.

Mitchell, who was just 3 of 13 in the first half, stormed out of the locker room to score 17 points in the third. His drive by a Jalen Suggs foul in the lane for a short jumper with 4:09 remaining in the third quarter tied the score at 64, and personally, Cleveland’s yardage probably wasn’t as high after Mitchell’s play considering all those Finals were played with James.

“I gotta give a shout out to the Cleveland fans, that was crazy,” Mitchell said. “(I found) myself standing in the middle of the field enjoying the moment.”

“It was tough tonight,” Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac said. He played really well. He’s had a great series. So it’s hard when it’s not necessarily about him, but when other people can help him.

TRUE. Mitchell was not alone in the march. Max StraussCleveland, which did not score in the first half, scored 11 of its 13 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer with 2:23 left in the third period to take a 71-68 lead and Cleveland never gave up. Strus was signed to a four-year contract from Miami Heat Last summer to boost the team’s outside shooting after Cleveland lost in the first round of the playoffs to New York Knicks. He picked the right time to deliver on the promise the Cavaliers saw in him with those three 3s in the pivotal third.

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Cleveland got 15 points Caris LeVertwho struggled so badly in the sixth match that he only scored seven minutes. Evan Mobley He finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks as Cleveland’s lone big man. Darius Garland He struggled to shoot (3 of 13 overall), but his 3-pointer with 5:53 left in the fourth made it 88-77. Mitchell hugged him after the shot, causing the game to stop. Garland finished with 12 points.

Sam Merrill, rarely used in this series, may have saved Game 7 for the Cavaliers, even though all but a few seconds of his 11 minutes came in the first half. With Cleveland trailing so much, they scored eight times in the second quarter, including two huge 3-pointers that helped the Cavaliers cut the deficit to 10.

“We had some guys come in and make plays that change the momentum,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I thought Sam came in and not just the threes but the job he took on. Caris came in (and) gave us a spark. We just kept doing it together, and we never doubted each other. I think there were moments we saw when we were on the road where we allowed things to develop.” And tonight we weren’t talking about that.

The Magic, who by all accounts are ahead of schedule in building their program, have remained winless in a playoff series since 2010.

While Banchero dominated the series, averaging 27 points and 8.6 rebounds, no other Magic player was as consistent as him.

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Wendell Carter JrSuggs, who started the series off the bench, added 13 points and Suggs finished with 10 in Game 7. Orlando shot 29 of 86 from the field and will be sorry to let a golden opportunity to reach the second round slip away.

No road team has won a road game in this series. The Cavaliers led by nine at halftime of Game 4, and down five entering the fourth quarter of Game 6, but collapsed twice. Orlando’s lead in the second quarter, which reached 18 points, seemed unattainable, but the Magic were unable to shoot after that. Franz Wagner And Suggs, Orlando’s best player next to Banchero, shot 3-of-28 in Game 7.

Cavas Center Jarrett Allen (Rib contusion) Did not play in the last three games of this series. He averaged 17 points and nearly 14 rebounds before Mo Wagner’s elbow in Game 4 “penetrated” a rib on his right side, leaving his status for Tuesday’s Game 1 in question, team sources said.

For Cleveland, “questionable” is a much better word than being out — the end of the season. For a while on Sunday, it was trending in that direction.

Required reading

(Photo: Ken Blaze/USA Today)