Mitchell, Cavaliers storm back to beat Magic in Game 7 and reach East semi-finals

By Sports Desk May 05, 2024

Trailing by 18 points in Game 7, the Cleveland Cavaliers' season appeared to be over.

Donovan Mitchell, however, then took over.

Mitchell scored 39 points to help rally the Cavaliers to a 106-94 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday to advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Fouth-seeded Cleveland, which won its first play-off series since 2018, will now face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in Tuesday's series opener.


The Cavaliers won their first play-off series without LeBron James since 1993, though it looked like the team was headed to a second straight first-round exit as Cleveland found itself trailing 49-31 with less than four minutes to go in the second quarter.

The Cavs cut it to 10 at half-time, and Mitchell helped Cleveland complete the comeback with a sensational third quarter.

After finishing with 50 points in Friday's 103-96 Game 6 loss, Mitchell had two more points than the entire Magic team in the third, scoring 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting as Cleveland outscored Orlando 33-15 to take a 76-68 lead into the fourth.

The Magic stayed within striking distance throughout the first half of the final period until Darius Garland finally found his shot.

Garland scored 10 of his 12 points in the final six minutes of the game, a stretch that began with a made 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up by 11 points.

The Magic only connected on 3-of-15 3-point attempts after half-time and made just 4-of-24 shots (16.7 per cent) in the pivotal third quarter.

Paolo Banchero led Orlando with 38 points and a career high-tying 16 rebounds but Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs combined for just 16 points on 3-of-28 shooting.

At 21 years and 175 days old, Banchero became the second-youngest player in NBA history to have at least 35 points and 15 rebounds in a play-off game. The only player younger was Magic Johnson (20 years, 276 days) on May 16, 1980.

Caris LeVert added 15 off the bench for the Cavaliers, while Evan Mobley had 11 points and a play-off career-high 16 boards.

Cleveland again played without All-Star centre Jarrett Allen, who sat out the final three games of the series due to a rib contusion.

He averaged 17 points and 13.8 rebounds in the series' first four games, and his status for Game 1 in Boston is uncertain.

Related items

  • 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship

    Jaylen Brown said the Boston Celtics had learned from past mistakes after they took another step towards clinching the NBA championship with Wednesday's Game 3 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

    Brown had 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics took a 3-0 lead in the series, holding off a late Dallas push to claim a 106-99 win.

    They could now capture a record-breaking 18th NBA crown on Friday, when they are again on the road for Game 4 at American Airlines Center.

    The Celtics were beaten NBA finalists against the Golden State Warriors two years ago and have also lost two Eastern Conference finals series in the last five seasons.

    Brown thinks experiencing those near misses has made them stronger, saying: "Experience is the best teacher. 

    "All year long we've been hearing about the Celtics in the past, for the last six to eight months, all we've been hearing is all the different shortcomings we've had in the past.

    "This is a new team, you know what I mean? We've learned from those experiences. In these moments, you can see that we learned from it. We stepped up to the plate, and we found a way to win."

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit have rallied to win an NBA playoff series, in any round.

    Dallas gave themselves a chance of making a series of it when a 22-2 spurt pulled them within one point with three minutes and 37 seconds left.

    However, a Brown putback was followed by a Derrick White 3-pointer and a Tatum dunk as the Celtics rediscovered their composure to pull clear once more.

    Tatum is refusing to take his eye off the ball despite Boston now having four chances to clinch the title, saying: "Last year, when we were down 0-3 in the conference finals, we really felt like we were going to come back.

    "We almost did. You know, we were my sprained ankle away from having a real shot, so we are not relaxing or anything like that. 

    "You know, we're not even focusing on winning or Friday or whatever. However long it takes, that's our motto. That's what it's going to take, and nobody is trying to relax at all."

  • NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals

    Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Jaylen Brown added 30 as the Boston Celtics fended off the Dallas Mavericks’ furious rally for a 106-99 victory for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

    Brown finished with eight rebounds and eight assists and Derrick White had 16 points as Boston extended its franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff win and moved to 7-0 on the road this postseason.

    The Celtics can wrap up the series and win their 18th title to break a tie with the Lakers for most NBA championships with a victory Friday night in Dallas.

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit has rallied to win an NBA playoff series.

    Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out about two hours before the game because of a rare tendon injury in his lower left leg sustained in Game 2. But the Celtics improved to 10-1 in these playoffs without the 7-foot-2 Latvian.

    Kyrie Irving scored 35 points for Dallas and Luka Dončić added 27 before he fouled out with 4:12 remaining.

    The Celtics opened a 91-70 lead at the end of a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs answered with a 22-2 spurt to pull within 93-92 on Irving’s jumper with 3:37 left.

    Brown made a layup and White hit a 3-pointer before Irving sank a pair of free throws. Tatum dunked and Brown drilled a long jumper sandwiched around Dereck Lively II’s dunk to put Boston up 102-98.

    PJ Washington and Irving both missed 3s and Tatum’s two free throws with 15 seconds left sealed the win.

    Irving’s personal losing streak against the Celtics – his former team – reached 13 games.

  • Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks

    The Boston Celtics won't have Kristaps Porzingis for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday because of a rare injury to his left leg.

    The Celtics announced Tuesday that Porzingis suffered a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon.

    The team described the injury as being rare, and said it is unrelated to a right calf strain that side-lined Porzingis for 10 games earlier in the play-offs.

    The injury occurred with 3:27 to play in the third quarter of Sunday's 105-98 win over the Mavericks, which gave Boston a 2-0 lead.

    Porzingis helped spark the Celtics in Thursday's 107-89 win in Game 1, tallying 11 points and two blocks in the first quarter in his first game since April 29.

    He finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six rebounds before recording 12 points and four boards in Game 2.

    Porzingis spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Mavericks from 2019-22, and with this latest injury, still hasn't played a game in Dallas since being traded to the Washington Wizards in February 2022.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.