Cavaliers vs. Magic score: Donovan Mitchell leads historic Game 7 comeback, Cleveland moves on to face Celtics

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a historic comeback in Game 7 on Sunday to beat the Orlando Magic, 106-94, and advance to the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs. The Magic led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but the Cavs and Donovan Mitchell turned things around for the 12-point victory that sets up Cleveland's second-round date with the top-seeded Boston Celtics. It was the largest Game 7 comeback of the NBA's play-by-play era (since the 1996-97 season).

Mitchell finished with a game-high 39 points on Sunday after going for 50 in Game 6. He scored 17 of those points in the third quarter, which the Cavs won 33-15 to turn a 10-point halftime deficit into an 8-point lead. Mitchell's combined 89 points in the last two games of the series are the most by any Cavaliers play ever in a two-game postseason stretch. LeBron James previously held that franchise record with 86 points.

The loss in Game 7 marked the end of the season for the fifth-seeded Magic. Paolo Banchero had a team-high 38 points in Game 7, and the former No. 1 overall pick was phenomenal in the first half with 24 points. Franz Wagner, who averaged 21 points per game in this series entering Sunday, finished with just 6 points on 1-of-15 shooting.

Here are three things to know about the Cavs' Game 7 win.

1. Mitchell was superb again

Mitchell had a disappointing run in this series. He scored just a total of 31 points in Games 3 and 4 and the Cavs lost both of those games in Orlando. He bounced back with 28 points in a Game 5 win, and he took his scoring to the next level in Games 6 and 7.

After scoring 50 points in a Game 6 loss, Mitchell had a game-high 39 on Sunday. He only made two of his eight 3-point attempts and shot 11 for 27 from the field, but Mitchell got to the free-throw line 17 times in Game 7, earning 15 of his points at the charity stripe. Mitchell also scored 17 points in a crucial third quarter.

His combined 89 points in the last two games were just one point off Allen Iverson's record for most points in Games 6 and 7 in a series. AI scored 90 for the 76ers in 2001.

2. Moving on without LeBron

It had been 31 years since the Cavaliers won a playoff series without LeBron James. The James-less Cavs last won a playoff series in 1993, beating the Nets in the first round. The Cavaliers had four first-round playoff exits between 1993 and James' playoff debut in 2006. They lost again in the first round last year as they made it to the playoffs for the first time since LeBron left the team for the second time in 2018.

The Cavs have a tough task against them, facing the 64-win Celtics in the next round as they try to get to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2018.

"We accomplished one goal and now we have to do it again," Mitchell told reporters "...When they traded for me it wasn't just to win a first-round series."

3. Banchero needed more help

Paolo Banchero's first playoff series did not disappoint. The No. 1 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft scored 25.6 points per game in the series and eclipsed the 30-point mark three times. That includes Sunday's 38-point performance, which featured 24 points in the first half. Banchero was bottled up a bit in the second half on Sunday, but he was not getting much help from his Orlando teammates.

Co-star Franz Wagner had a miserable Game 7. He made one of his 15 attempts from the floor and settled for 6 points. Starting guard Jalen Suggs was not much better. He had 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting. The Magic shot 33.7% from the floor in Game 7, and they averaged 91.5 points per game on the road in the series, losing every game in Cleveland.

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Cavs win Game 7: Cleveland 106, Orlando 94

Cleveland erases an 18-point deficit, the biggest Game 7 comeback in history, to move on to face Boston in the second round,. 

May 5, 2024, 7:50 PM
May. 05, 2024, 3:50 pm EDT
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Orlando is on the ropes

Down 11 with six minutes to play is not where the Magic imagined being with they were up 18 in the second quarter. Donovan Mitchell has taken over with 35 points. 

May 5, 2024, 7:27 PM
May. 05, 2024, 3:27 pm EDT
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3Q score: Cavs 76, Magic 68

Cleveland has completely reversed what was once an 18-point deficit. Can Orlando gather itself and flip things again?

May 5, 2024, 7:11 PM
May. 05, 2024, 3:11 pm EDT
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Magic flirting with wrong side of history

If Orlando loses this game it will go down as the largest blown lead (18) in a Game 7 in NBA history. 

May 5, 2024, 7:02 PM
May. 05, 2024, 3:02 pm EDT
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Mitchell up to 32 points

And 17 of them have come in this third quarter as the Cavs have stormed back for the lead.

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Donovan Mitchell comes out firing

Mitchell has three buckets out of the second-half gate including a 3 and the Cavs have trimmed Orlando's lead, once as high as 18, down to four. Mitchell up to 22 for the game. 

May 5, 2024, 6:38 PM
May. 05, 2024, 2:38 pm EDT
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Halftime score: Orlando 53, Cleveland 43

The Cavs made a nice run to close the half within striking distance when the game was starting to get away from them. They still have an uphill climb, but at least they have some momentum coming out of the locker room. 

May 5, 2024, 6:24 PM
May. 05, 2024, 2:24 pm EDT
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Bad news for the Cavs?

Teams are 4-41 (.089) over last 70 postseasons when trailing by 10+ at halftime in a Game 7. The Cavs are down at the break 53-43.

Only one of the last 27 teams down by 10+ at halftime of Game 7 has come back to win (Golden State in 2018 against the Rockets).

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Cleveland is officially in trouble

Orlando is out to an 18-point lead with under five minutes to play in the second quarter. Cleveland cannot get anything going offensively. Orlando is smothering them. Jalen Suggs is blanketing Donovan Mitchell, and the Magic are 7 of 14 from 3. This is not going to be an easy climb back into this game for a Cavs team struggling on offense against an elite defensive team in Orlando. 

May 5, 2024, 6:05 PM
May. 05, 2024, 2:05 pm EDT
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Magic open 2Q on 7-0 run

Cleveland better get its act together. The Magic are 5 of 10 from 3 and have been the aggressor from the opening tip. Paolo Banchero is up to 14 early points. Orlando leads 31-18 as Cavs call timeout less than three minutes into second quarter. 

May 5, 2024, 5:48 PM
May. 05, 2024, 1:48 pm EDT
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1Q score: Magic 24, Cavaliers 18

  • Paolo Banchero: 10 points (2-2 on 3-pointers)
  • Donovan Mitchell: 8 points, 2-of-9 shooting
May 5, 2024, 5:41 PM
May. 05, 2024, 1:41 pm EDT
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Paolo Banchero has it going

Banchero has 10 first-quarter points and has hit both of his 3-pointers. Orlando is getting much better shots than the Cavs, who have more turnovers than buckets. 

May 5, 2024, 5:37 PM
May. 05, 2024, 1:37 pm EDT
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Magic out to early lead

Orlando took a bit to get going but a couple 3s has given them some early separation as Cleveland is not finding any easy offense. Timeout Cavs, who do not want to get an early hole against this Magic defense with the pressure of Game 7 mounting. 

May 5, 2024, 5:23 PM
May. 05, 2024, 1:23 pm EDT
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Game 7 underway in Cleveland

We're off in this win-or-go home matchup. The Cavs are a 3.5-point favorite. Winner gets the Celtics.

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No Jarrett Allen today

The Cavs will again be without one of their top big men as Jarrett Allen is out for Game 7 with a rib contusion. The Cavs are 3-4 without Allen this season (including the playoffs). Isaac Okoro is starting in his place for Cleveland.

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Cavs vs. Magic Game 7 info

We're about 45 minutes away from tip-off of the final game of the first round. Here's what you need to know about Magic-Cavs Game 7.

Time: 1 p.m. ET | Date: Sunday, May 5
Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse -- Cleveland
TV channel: ABC | Live streamfubo (try for free)
Odds: Cavs -3.5, O/U: 194

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