Donovan Mitchell Leads Historic Cavs Comeback in Game 7 Win Over Magic

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, Orlando Magic
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell scored 39 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-94 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 7 of their first-round NBA playoff series.

“This is why I’m here,” Mitchell said. “It’s my job.”

Battling a knee injury, Mitchell was determined to lead his team to victory. He scored 15 points in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter, to keep the Cavaliers within striking distance.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic Updates

“I’m tired of losing in the first round,” Mitchell said. “You work too hard. We work too hard. That was my mindset … for me, just be in attack mode. I’m battling through what I’m battling through, but I could battle through it and figure it out, or rehab it for the next three or four months. That’s where I’m at mentally.”

Mitchell’s 3-pointer sparked a 30-6 run that tied the game at 55-55 with 5:30 left in the third quarter. The Magic went cold, shooting 27% from the field in the second half, while the Cavaliers shot 57% and outscored them 57-39.

“He’s a competitor,” Darius Garland said. “He’s a go-getter. He’s a winner — that’s all he talks about. He wants us to get over this hump. He’s going to do anything possible to get us over it.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic Updates

Mitchell’s leadership and scoring were crucial in the second half, as he outscored the Magic 20-19 midway through the second quarter until the end of the third. He finished with 39 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and his teammates followed his lead. Caris LeVert added 15 points, Max Strus scored 13, and Garland had 12.

The Cavaliers’ comeback was the largest in a Game 7 since the NBA began tracking play-by-play in 1997-98. Starting Tuesday, they will face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“We didn’t come in just to win the first round,” Mitchell said. “We accomplished one goal, now we have to do it again. That’s the mindset.”

Cleveland’s win marked their first playoff series victory without LeBron James since 1993. They will build on their momentum against the Celtics, who went 2-1 against the Cavaliers in the regular season.

“We’re most proud of this group for coming together and figuring it out,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “But we’re not done yet.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic Updates

Mitchell’s performance was a testament to his determination and leadership. “He’s the guy that can pull everybody along, not just with his skill but in spirit as well,” Bickerstaff said. “When you see your teammate, a guy you care about playing that way, you don’t want to let that guy down so you go out and do whatever you can to help that guy.”

The Cavaliers’ “not done yet” mindset will be put to the test against the Celtics, but they are ready for the challenge. “I’m pretty sure everybody thinks they’re going to come in and kick our ass,” Mitchell said. “So for us to continue to stay level-headed throughout and just be who we are, that’s the biggest thing.”

Paolo Banchero scored 38 points, including 24 in the first half, to lead the Magic. Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs combined for just 11 points on 3-28 shooting.

“After the first game, people were like, I don’t know if they’re ready,” Banchero said. “To come back the way we did, it shows where we’re headed and shows what we’re able to do.”

The Magic’s season came to an end, but they showed promise for the future. “We’re definitely going to learn from this,” Wagner said. “We’re going to come back stronger next year.”

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