Cavaliers advance to Eastern Conference semifinals after defeating Magic 106-94 in game 7 
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - On October 25th when the NBA season began everyone in the NBA universe knew that the Cleveland Cavaliers had to get past the first round of the playoffs to consider it a successful season. On Sunday, Cleveland was faced with the ultimate challenge to accomplish that goal, a game seven against the up-and-coming Orlando Magic.

The Cavs proved the many naysayers wrong and that they were up to the challenge and defeating the Magic 106-94 in front of another sellout crowd at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and will face the number one seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Game one will be on Tuesday in Boston at TD Garden at 8 pm.

The game was tight early as expected through the first three minutes the Cavs led 8-7 on a layup by Darius Garland with 8:56 remaining. The Cavs extended the lead to 10-7 after Franz Wagner fouled Donovan Mitchell and he hit both free throws. But the Magic, as they had done all series, responded with a three by Paulo Banchero to tie the game 10-10 with 8:02 left in the opening quarter. The Magic took a 16-10 lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter when Wendell Carter, Jr. drained a three as the Magic were on a 9-0 run. Bickerstaff called a timeout. With 4:20 left in the first quarter the Orlando lead had ballooned to 20-10 on a dunk by Carter. With 1:49 left in the quarter the Cavs turnover problem had grown to five resulting in eight Magic points which was the Cavs deficit at 20-12. With 1:33 left Franz Wagner picked up his second personal foul when he hacked Caris LeVert under the basket. LeVert hit one of two of the shots to pull the Cavs to within 20-13, but the Magic responded immediately and extended the lead back to nine at 22-13. LeVert was then fouled again under the Cavs basket; he made the shot and drained the free throw to pull the Cavs to within six. When the clock ran out in the first quarter the Cavs had put up a miserable 18 points and trailed 24-18. Cleveland shot 27% (6 of 22) in the first quarter from the field and a disgusting 0% (0 of7) from behind the three-point arc. Banchero led all scorers with 10 first quarter points. Mitchell led the Cavs with eight. The Cavs did outrebound the Magic 16-12. Points in the paint also favored Cleveland 12-6.

Thirty seconds into the second quarter the always miserable Mo Wagner got into the act elbowing Tristan Thompson and picking up his first foul. Franz Wagner responded :32 later draining a three giving the Magic a 27-18 lead. The Magic lead became double digits at 29-18 on a Banchero layup with 10:15 left in the first half. With 9:43 left in the half and the Cavs trailing 31-18 Bickerstaff called a timeout as the team headed to the bench the sellout crowd booed them loudly. With 8:25 left Mitchell hit Evan Mobley with a pass under basket which Mobley dunked, temporarily igniting the crowd. Finally with 6:37 left in the half Sam Merrill hit the Cavs first three pointer after starting the game 0 for 9. Unfortunately, Carter responded with a three extending the Magic lead to 42-25. With 5:38 left Garland picked up his third foul sending Banchero to the line, he hit both giving the Magic a 44-27 lead as the crowd chanted “Refs you suck”. What became apparent in the series and even more apparent in this game was the NBA has every intention of making Banchero a superstar by making him untouchable and sending Banchero to the line double digit times a game. With 2:39 left LeVert drove the lane dropping in a layup to cut the Magic’s advantage to 49-37. The Magic immediately called a timeout to stop the Cavs’ momentum. With 1:39 left LeVert drove the paint again and cut the Magic lead to 49-40. Then with :44.6 left Merrill drained a three cutting the Orlando lead to 51-43. When the clock ran out on the first half the Magic lead was 53-43. Banchero, the NBA’s newest darling led everyone in scoring with 24 first half points. Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 15, LeVert had 10 along with Merrill who had six on the Cavs only two three-point shots made in the first half. The Cavs did control the scoring wise 24-14, but there was no rebounding edge as each team pulled down 23 each. The Cavaliers shot a miserable 35% (14 of 40) from the field and a putrid 18% (2 of 11) from behind the three-point arc. Meanwhile the Magic shot 41% (18 of 43) from the field and 44% (7 of 16) from three-point range. The Cavs bench outscored the Magic bench 18-13.  

The Cavs cut the lead to 55-51 with 10:21 left on a Mitchell three pointer. Official Bill Kennedy once again proving that you don’t have to understand basketball or the rule book to be an NBA official was on full display early in the third quarter. The Cavs had a chance to cut the lead to one point when the Magic led 58-55, but Garland made another poor decision driving the lane and missing another layup with 7:45 left. Orlando, then scored on the other end with 7:37 left extending their lead to 61-55. The Cavs did respond with a layup by Mitchell with 7:25 left pulling the Cavs to within four at 61-57. With 6:58 remaining Mitchell drew a foul and shot two free throws. He drained both free throws and the Magic lead was down to two points at 61-59. Banchero once again responded and hit a three and the lead was 61-59 with 6:38 left in the third. With 5:05 left after a Magic missed Mitchell dropped in a layup on a fastbreak to cut the Magic lead back to three at 64-61. With 4:30 left in the third Carter picked up his fourth foul and LeVert hit one of two free throws and the Magic led 64-62. With 4:09 left the Cavs did what was unthinkable midway through the second period and tied the game on a Mitchell jumper 64-64. Then with 3:39 left Mo Wagner picked up his second foul, when he fouled LeVert. LeVert hit both free throws giving the Cavs a short lived 66-64 lead. After the Magic tied the game 66-66, Mitchell drove the paint and scored with 3:08 left giving the Cavs a 68-66 lead. With 2:23 left in the third Max Strus hit three to give the Cavs a 71-68 lead. With 1:14 left Strus hit another three to give the Cavs their biggest lead of the game to that point 74-68. Okoro was then fouled by Markell Fultz and hit both free throws with :41.7 left extending the Cavs lead to 76-68 after three quarters. Mitchell led all scorers with 32 points through three and Banchero was leading the way for Orlando with 28 points, scoring only four third quarter points. The Cavs also won the battle of the boards in the third 14-11 to gain the advantage in the game 37-34 and outscored the Magic 33-15 in the third.

With 11:01 left in the fourth the Cavs lead grew to 79-70 on a three by Mitchell, giving him 35 points. With 9:52 left, LeVert fouled Banchero while in the lane. Banchero hit both free throws cutting the Cavs lead to 79-72. With 5:53 left the much maligned and rightly so Garland drained a three to give the Cavs an 88-77 lead. The Magic cut the lead to 88-80 with 5:33 left when Carter hit a putback layup and was fouled by Mobley, it was his fourth foul. When the Cavs were up 90-80 Okoro fouled Banchero sending him to the line. The foul was Okoro’s second. Banchero hit one of two and the Cavs lead was 90-81 with 4:21 left. After a Cavs turnover Garland picked up his fifth foul when he made contact with Franz Wagner. He hit both free throws and the Cavs lead was 90-83 with 4:15 left on the game clock. Mitchell was then fouled at the other end by Carter, it was his fifth. Mitchell hit both with 4:01 left and the Cavs lead was 92-83. With 3:22 left and the Cavs up 92-85 Garland was fouled he hit both and extended the Cavs lead to nine at 94-85. With 3:01 left after Garland stole the ball, he drove the lane and dropped the ball in giving the Cavs a 96-85 lead. After the Magic failed to score on their next possession Mobley was fouled at the other end, he hit one of two giving the Cavs a 97-85 lead, sending them on to Boston to face the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Meanwhile the Magic led by the Wagner brother, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter, Jr, left the floor humiliated.

Mitchell led all scorers with 39 points. Banchero had 38 points in the season ending loss for the Magic. The Cavs dominated the paint outscoring the Magic 50-28, but the Magic outrebounded the Cavs slightly 39-38.

The play of veterans like Thompson and LeVert should not be overshadowed in the game by the 39 point performance of Mitchell. Without impactful minutes from both Thompson and LeVert the Cavs may not have won the game.. 
Follow us on Twitter @SportsSentinel Check out our Cavaliers fan page Taitville 
​POSTED 05/05/2024 16:02 
HomeCommunity InformationEditorialNews ArchivesSports

Lake County Sentinel
Cavaliers take 2-0 series lead, winning physical game two 96-86 - 04-22-2024
Cavaliers take 1-0 series lead with 97-83 win over Magic - 04-20-2024
Cavaliers clinch playoff berth with 129-120 win over Pacers - 04-12-2024
Mistakes are costly in Cavaliers 107-104 loss to Miami - 03-20-2024
Shorthanded Cavaliers eclipsed by Suns 117-111 -03-11-2024
Cavaliers honor four greats, then get blown out by Nets 120-101 - 03-10-2024
Dean Wade and the Cavaliers snap Celtics 11 game win streak 105-104 - 03-05-2024
Cavaliers can't get over the hump, fall to Knicks again 107-98 - 03-03-2024
Max Strus pulls off a miracle as Cavaliers stun Mavs 121-119 - 02-27-2024
Mitchell less Cavaliers fall to Magic 116-109 - 02-22-2024
Cavaliers edge Bulls with late heroics 108-105 - 02-14-2024
Cavaliers win streak ends at nine with 123-121 loss to Sixers - 02-12-2024
Cavaliers move into 2nd place in the East after blowing out Kings 136-110 - 02-05-2024
Cavaliers squeak past Pistons 128-121 - 01-31-2024
Cavaliers sink the Clippers 118-108 - 01-29-2024
Cavaliers blow out Bucks 135-95 - 01-17-2024
Cavaliers complete two game sweep of Wizards 114-90 01-05-2024
Cavaliers dominate Wizards 140-101 - 01-03-2024
Cavaliers unable to overcome long range shooting trouble and officials in 119-111 loss to the Bucks - 12-29-2023
Cavaliers run out of steam in 123-104 loss to Pelicans - 12-21-2023
Shorthanded Cavaliers shoot down Hawks 127-119 - 12-16-2023
Cavaliers outplayed by Blazers in terrible 103-95 loss - 11-30-2023
Cavaliers dominate Trae Young's Hawks 128-105 - 11-28-2023
Cavaliers scorched by Heat 129-96 - 11-22-2023
Cavaliers dominate World Champion Nuggets 121-109 - 11-19-2023
Cavaliers cruise past error prone Pistons 108-100 - 11-17-2023
Cavaliers end the Warriors road winning streak 115-104 - 11-05-2023
Shorthanded Cavaliers lose second straight in 125-113 loss to Pacers - 10-28-2023
Cavaliers lose home opener to Thunder 108-105 - 10-27-2023
Cavaliers eliminated by Knicks in five games 4-1 - 04-26-2023
Cavaliers even series 1-1 with dominating 107-90 win over Knicks - 04-18-2023
Cavaliers simply outplayed by Knicks in game one 101-97 - 04-15-2023
Cavaliers comeback late to stop Pacers 115-105 - 04-02-2023
Cavaliers sloppiness on offense and lack of defense costly in 130-116 loss to Knicks - 03-31-2023
Cavaliers clinch first playoff berth since 2017-18 with 108-91 win over Houston - 03-26-2023
Cavaliers glide past Wizards 117-94 - 03-17-2023
Cavaliers victim of terrible overturned call in 118-109 loss to Philly - 03-15-2023
Lamar Stevens late heroics lead Cavs to 118-114 win over Celtics in OT - 03-06-2023
Cavaliers end skid with resounding 118-93 win over Toronto - 03-04-2023
Cavaliers fall to Nuggets from long range 115-109 - 02-23-2023
Cavaliers win seventh straight holding of Spurs 117-108 - 02-23-2023
Cavaliers win sixth straight, coming from behind to stop Bulls 97-89 - 02-11-2023
Cavaliers pound Pistons late 113-85 - 02-08-2023
Cavaliers turnovers costly in 100-97 loss to Heat - 01-31-2023
Cavaliers blow out Clippers 122-99 - 01-29-2023
Cavaliers end two game skid with 114-102 win over Bucks - 01-21-2023
Cavaliers completely embarrassed by severely shorthanded Warriors 120-114 - 01-20-2023
Cavs comeback late to stop Pelicans behind Garland's 30, 113-103 - 01-16-2023
LeVert, Neto, Osman come up big in Cavs 90-88 win over Suns - 01-02-2023
Donovan Mitchell joins NBA elite scoring 71 in Cavs 145-134 OT win over Bulls - 01-02-2023
Cavaliers fall to Durant's Nets 125-117 - 12-26-2022
Cavaliers stop Bucks 114-106, move to within 1 game of the top spot in East - 12-21-2022
Cavaliers struggle but pull out 118-112 win over Pacers - 12-16-2022
Cavaliers too much for the Wagner's of Orlando 107-96 - 12-02-2022
Shorthanded Cavaliers humiliate 76ers 113-85 - 11-30-2022
Cavs shoot down Hawks 114-102 - 11-21-2022
Cavs dominate shorthanded Heat 113-87 - 11-20-2022
Cavs end skid with 132-122 double overtime win - 11-18-2022
Cavs use late surge to win stop Knicks 121-108 - 10-30-2022
Cavs win third straight defeating the Magic 103-92 - 10-26-2022
Cavs prevail in home opener 117-107 in overtime - 10-26-2022
Cavs welcome media to kick off what promises to be an exciting 2022-23 season - 09-26-2022
Garland outduels Irving as Cavs top Nets 114-107 - 01-17-2022
Cavaliers lose close battle with Grizzlies 110-106 - 01-04-2021
Cavaliers end skid, stopping Pacers 108-104 - 01-02-2022
Cavaliers sluggish 3rd quarter leads to 121-118 loss to Hawks -12-31-2021
Shorthanded Cavaliers turn shorthanded Raptors into mammals 144-99 - 12-26-2021
Cavaliers shoot down Rockets like a scud missile 124-89 - 12-15-2021
Cavaliers win fourth straight with 105-94 win over Miami - 12-13-2021
Cavaliers turn Kings into peons with 117-103 win 12-11-2021
Cavaliers pound Bulls 115-92 - 12-08-2021
Cavaliers comeback thwarted in 109-108 loss to Utah - 12-05-2021
Cavaliers end skid, taking the Magic out of Orlando 105-92 - 11-27-2021
Cavaliers drop fifth straight with 120-115 loss to red hot Suns - 11-24-2021
Cavaliers fall to .500 with 117-112 loss to Nets - 11-22-2021
Shorthanded Cavaliers fall to Warriors 104-89 - 11-18-2021
Cavaliers hold off Trail Blazers 107-104 - 11-03-2021

Cavaliers Donovan Mitchell scores two of his 39 points.  Photo by Tommy Shirer