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Three reasons why Cleveland Cavaliers secured Game 7 comeback by eliminating Magic

Despite trailing by 17 points in the second quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Orlando Magic in a do-or-die Game 7 in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

With the comeback win and after a tumultuous run, the Cavs now advance to the second round of the playoffs and have a date with the top-seeded Boston Celtics, who are currently moving forward without Kristaps Porzingis.

But before we go there to Cleveland, we need to understand how they got there. In particular, let’s take a look at what led to the Cavs’ comeback in Game 7 to secure the win or win.

When Cleveland fell behind in the first half, their defense looked hapless trying to defend Orlando beyond the three-point line. However, coming out of the locker room after halftime, the switch flipped for the Cavs. The effects were immediate as they held the Magic to just 15 points in the entire third quarter, turning a 10-point halftime deficit into an eight-point lead in the Cavaliers’ favor.

It’s fair to say that the Magic’s youth and inexperience, especially with young stars like Paolo Banchero, showed up as part of this in a clutch moment of a Game 7. That said, the Cavs still got huge in the second phase tightened on the defensive end. , allowing them to take control of the game and capitalize on their offense.

When the Cavaliers signed Max Strus, they were most likely looking for the veteran marksman who could provide spacing and make key shots in key moments. During Game 7, with Cleveland’s season on the line, the former Heat wing figured out exactly what the Cavs had hoped for from him.

Strus converted three of his six three-point attempts, while the veteran also shot 55 percent from the field. At times, the Cavs seemed to lack offensive production from players not named Donovan Mitchell. On Sunday afternoon, Strus was able to answer the call and was a big reason why the Cavs won Game 7.

Make no mistake, Donovan Mitchell’s first half was one to forget for the Cavaliers star, mainly due to his inefficient shooting from the floor. But even with that, he was the key cog in securing the victory in Game 7 and pushing the Cavs to the second round.

Mitchell consistently cut through and around the Magic defense off the dribble to get separation and look good with his jumper in stride, and it paid off. He also rode exceptionally well and finished on the rim. But perhaps his most impressive performance was when he single-handedly tied Orlando’s offensive performance in the third quarter, scoring 15 points himself while the Magic put up so many as a team.

All told, Mitchell finished the win with a game-high 39 points with nine rebounds and five assists, while adding a steal and a block and committing just one turnover. Cleveland needed its superstar to deliver, and Mitchell came in the biggest moments of the year so far.