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Cavaliers mount historic comeback to beat Magic and progress in NBA play-offs

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers mounted a historic comeback in Game 7 against the Orlando Magic to advance to the second round of the NBA play-offs.

The Magic looked like they had the job done and stormed into an 18-point lead in the first half, but Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs put on a show to win 106-94 and set up a series with the Boston Celtics.

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Mitchell hit 39 points in Cleveland just days after dropping 50 in the Game 6 loss in Orlando – 17 of those came in the third quarter alone in a period where the home team overcame a 10-point deficit and turned it into an eight-point lead.

It was the largest Game 7 comeback in the NBA play-offs since 1997 and there was more history on the court, with Mitchell becoming the highest-scoring Cav over two games in the play-offs with 89 combined points, overtaking LeBron James who previously had 86.

After disappointing in Games 3 and 4, Mitchell is finally hitting form at the right moment as he prepares for the mammoth task of upsetting the Celtics in the second round.

15 of his points in Game 17 came from free throws, highlighting his efforts on the court and how much of a handful he was for the No.5 seed Magic.

After the match, Mitchell said: “We accomplished one goal and now we have to do it again. When they traded for me it wasn’t just to win a first-round series.”

For the first time since 1993, the Cavaliers won a play-off series without James but they face a much bigger task against the No.1 seed in the Celtics.

For the Magic, Paolo Banchero had 38 points, 24 of them coming in the first half and Franz Wagner could only pick up six having averaged 21 points per game previously.

It was clear Banchero – who was the No.1 pick of the 2022 draft – needed some support but he will take the positives from an impressive first post-season campaign for the 21-year-old.

Orlando only made 33.7% of their shots from the floor and their form on the road was miserable throughout the series, averaging 91.5 points per game.



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