Donovan Mitchell scores 23 to power Cavaliers to 96-86 win over Magic and 2-0 lead in series

CLEVELAND (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, Jarrett Allen had 20 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers outlasted the Orlando Magic 96-86 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference series.

Mitchell set the tone as the Cavs led from start to finish, just as they did in Game 1.

It’s been an impressive opening to the playoffs for Cleveland, which spent the regular season waiting for a chance to redeem itself following last year’s first-round exit against the New York Knicks, who punished the Cavs in five games.

Cleveland has been much tougher this time around.

Evan Mobley added 17 points and Allen scored 16 — with nine offensive rebounds — for the Cavs.

Paolo Banchero scored 21 points and Franz Wagner 18 for the Magic, who have only come back to win one playoff series in 13 tries when losing the series opener. They’re now in an even deeper hole.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Orlando.

Magic guard Jalen Suggs went down with a sprained left knee in the first quarter. He collapsed to the floor after making contact with Mitchell and immediately grabbed his leg in pain. After being helped up, an emotional Suggs couldn’t put any weight on his leg as he was carried to the locker room.

However, the former high school football star returned after halftime with a sleeve on his leg. He finished with nine points and sparked a rally in the fourth quarter as the Magic scored 13 straight to pull within 87-78.

Mitchell, though, checked back in and scored two quick baskets to restore order for the Cavs.

Suggs’ injury seemed to shake his teammates. The Magic were only 14-13 when he went out, but the Cavs closed the opening quarter with a 19-5 flurry to open a 12-point lead.

Garland’s layup with 9:09 left gave the Cavs a 22-point lead, allowing their towel-waving fans to let off some steam and celebrate Cleveland getting a second postseason win for the first time since 2018.

As was the case in Game 1, the Magic couldn’t find their shooting touch. They shot 36% from the floor, including 9 of 35 on 3-pointers.

For many of Orlando’s players, Game 1 was their first taste of the playoffs and the big stage may have contributed to the team’s pitiful shooting performance.

Coach Jamahl Mosley wasn’t worried about the Magic losing any confidence, and his message was for them to to keep firing.

“I don’t care if you’ve missed two in a row or 10 in a row,” he said before the game. “If you’re open, let it go.”

But the Magic’s shooting woes continued. They missed their first five 3-pointers and started 3 of 11 from the field.


Orlando hosts its first playoff game since April 21, 2019. It will be Cleveland’s first postseason visit there since the 2009 conference finals.

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