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Cavaliers rally past Magic for first playoff series win since LeBron

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers are shipping up to Boston.

The Cavs completed a wild comeback and beat the Orlando Magic 106-94 in Game 7 of their opening-round series Sunday afternoon at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

It was the first playoff series win for the Cavaliers since 2018, and the first without LeBron James on the roster in three decades.

The Cavaliers advance to play the No. 1-seeded Boston Celtics in the second round. Game 1 is set for Tuesday night in Boston. The Celtics took down the No. 8 Miami Heat in five games in their opening series.

The Cavaliers had trouble with third quarters all series, but turned that around in a big way Sunday in what was the key stretch with their playoff lives on the line.

After a brutal offensive first half in which the Cavs scored only 43 points and couldn’t buy a shot from 3-point range, Donovan Mitchell led the charge out of halftime as the Cavaliers overpowered the Magic in the third quarter, out-scoring Orlando 33-15 and sending Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse into a frenzy.

Mitchell scored 17 points in the third quarter alone as the Cavs chipped away at the Magic’s lead. Mitchell was aided by Max Strus, who went scoreless in the first half but then poured in 11 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back 3s as the Cavs not only erased their double-digit deficit but blew past the Magic to take an eight-point lead heading into the final 12 minutes.

Later, Garland came away with a steal, hit a jumper and grabbed a defensive rebound within a few seconds of each other, a stretch that gave the Cavs a 96-85 lead with two and a half minutes remaining.

Mitchell finished with a game-high 39 points one game after dropping 50 in Game 6.

Evan Mobley, who started at center with Jarrett Allen again out with bruised ribs, had 11 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.

As the clock wound down, Cavs fans began a ‘We want Boston!’ chant. The Cavs will get the Celtics Tuesday night.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis1@gannett.com. Follow him on Threads at @ByRyanLewis.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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