Cavs rally from 18 down, win series over Magic

Donovan Mitchell scored 39 points to fuel the host Cleveland Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 106-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday in Game 7 of their first-round series.

Mitchell, who scored 17 points in the third quarter, made 15 of 17 free-throw attempts and added nine rebounds and five assists. His scintillating performance came on the heels of a 50-point effort in Cleveland’s 103-96 loss in Orlando on Friday.

Caris LeVert scored 15 points off the bench and Max Strus added 13 for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers, who overcame an 18-point deficit to record their fourth win at home in the series.

Cleveland, which posted its first playoff series win in six years, will visit the top-seeded Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the conference semifinals on Tuesday. The Celtics captured two of the three meetings in the regular season.

“We can be better,” Mitchell said postgame. “I hate to be that guy. This was a great win, great series, great test for us mentally and physically. But we can – and will have to be – better to beat Boston. No disrespect to Orlando because they are a phenomenal team with a lot of great guys. I feel that this is big for us as a group, but we really don’t have time to celebrate.”

The Cavaliers won despite playing without All-Star center Jarrett Allen (rib contusion) for the third straight game.

Orlando’s Paolo Banchero collected 38 points and 16 rebounds while playing in his first career Game 7. Wendell Carter Jr. scored 13 points and Jalen Suggs had 10 points and nine rebounds for the fifth-seeded Magic, who mustered just 15 points in the third quarter.

Franz Wagner made just 1 of 15 shots to finish with six points while dealing with early foul trouble for the Magic.

The Cavaliers shaved an 18-point deficit to 10 at halftime before Mitchell erupted for 17 in the third quarter, capped by a driving layup to stake Cleveland to a 68-66 lead with 3:08 left. Suggs answered with a pair of free throws before Strus sank back-to-back 3-pointers.

Mitchell and Darius Garland each made a 3-pointer to increase the Cavaliers’ lead to 88-77 with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter. The Magic trimmed their deficit to seven before Garland sank a pair of free throws and a short jumper to send Cleveland on its way. Field Level Media

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