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Paolo Banchero Scores 27 Points, Magic Overcome Mitchell’s 50 To Defeat Cavs 103-96 And Force Game 7

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In the NBA playoffs, Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic, a team rapidly maturing, are demonstrating remarkable growth.

Banchero, a 21-year-old All-Star forward, showcased his prowess with 10 of his 27 points coming in the crucial fourth quarter, propelling the youthful Magic past the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-96, forcing a pivotal Game 7 in their first-round series.

Following his stellar 39-point performance in a narrow road loss just three nights prior, Banchero once again shouldered the offensive burden, guiding his team to a significant victory.

Franz Wagner contributed 26 points, while Jalen Suggs made six 3-pointers en route to 22 points, aiding the Magic’s late surge. Banchero’s clutch 3-pointer secured Orlando’s lead for good at 92-89.

Despite Donovan Mitchell’s extraordinary 50-point outing for Cleveland, supported by Darius Garland’s 21 points, the Cavaliers faltered due to poor 3-point shooting, converting only 7 of 28 attempts.

Game 7 awaits on Sunday in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers have displayed superior performance, winning Games 1, 2, and 5. Conversely, Orlando seeks its first postseason series victory in 14 years.

Under coach Jamahl Mosley, Orlando has experienced a notable transformation, progressing from 22 wins in 2021-22 to 34 last season and an impressive 47 victories with a Southeast Division title this year.

Opting for a strategic adjustment in Game 6, Orlando inserted forward Jonathan Isaac into the starting lineup and shifted Wagner to guard, deploying a lineup with four 6-foot-10 players simultaneously on the court.

With center Jarrett Allen sidelined due to injury for the second consecutive game, Cleveland adapted by moving Evan Mobley to center and starting Marcus Morris Sr., who provided a significant boost off the bench in the previous game.

Despite trailing 53-49 at halftime and struggling from beyond the arc, Cleveland remained competitive, with Mitchell and Garland driving aggressively to the basket, maintaining a 50% shooting percentage before the break.

A resurgence in the third quarter saw Cleveland extend their lead, fueled by Mitchell’s and Max Strus’s 3-pointers during a crucial surge. Although the Magic narrowed the deficit, they entered the final quarter trailing 78-73.

Mitchell’s remarkable performance continued, accounting for all 18 of Cleveland’s fourth-quarter points and securing a memorable individual performance despite the team’s defeat.

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