Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cavs Guard Donovan Mitchell Catches Fire, Scores 39 to Oust Magic in Game 7 Thriller t

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In an epic Game 7 battle, Donovan Mitchell put the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back, erupting for 39 points to rally his team past the Orlando Magic 106-94 and into the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The high-scoring guard was simply sensational, willing his squad to victory after facing an 18-point deficit earlier in the thrilling contest.

Mitchell was locked in from the opening tip, attacking the basket relentlessly and getting to the free throw line a game-high 17 times. He drained 15 of those foul shots while also grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists in a complete performance. The 26-year-old shooting guard was fresh off dropping 50 points in Cleveland’s Game 6 loss, and he picked up right where he left off with another sizzling scoring outburst.

“Donovan was simply unstoppable tonight,” marveled Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after the game. “When he’s in attack mode like that, getting into the paint and making plays, he’s one of the most dynamic offensive threats in the entire league. We needed every single one of those 39 points from him against a tough, gritty Magic team.”

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Cleveland trailed 49-37 at halftime before Mitchell took over in the third quarter, scoring 17 of his 39 points in the pivotal frame to give the Cavs their first lead since early in the opening period. His teammates fed off his contagious energy, with Caris LeVert providing 15 points off the bench and Max Strus chipping in 13 more.

Despite playing without injured All-Star center Jarrett Allen for the third straight game, the Cavaliers clamped down defensively in the second half to overcome the big early hole. Their stifling defense held rising star Paolo Banchero and the Magic to just 45 second-half points after Orlando had dropped 49 on them in the first 24 minutes.

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Banchero did his best to author a storybook ending for the upstart Magic, going for 38 points and 16 rebounds in his first career Game 7. But Mitchell’s brilliance combined with Cleveland’s balanced team effort proved too much for the overmatched visitors to overcome.

“We knew Donovan would give us a chance if we could just stick around and keep battling,” said LeVert. “He took over down the stretch and made all the big plays we needed to finally put Orlando away.”

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With the hard-fought series win, the Cavaliers advance to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the second round. Their cross-conference semifinal clash with the heavily-favored Celtics tips off Tuesday night in Boston.

While clearly savoring the playoff series triumph, Mitchell insisted the fourth-seeded Cavs can’t afford to get complacent. “This was a huge accomplishment for our team, but the work’s not done,” he stated. “We’re going to celebrate tonight, but we’ve got to get locked in on figuring out how to take down that Boston team next.”

The high-scoring guard was the clear hero for Cleveland in this grueling seven-game set. But with tougher tests looming against the mighty Celtics, the Cavaliers know they’ll need Mitchell’s heroics and then some to keep their playoff run going.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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