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Magic’s Jalen Suggs exits with injury but returns in Game 2 loss at Cavs

CLEVELAND — Magic guard Jalen Suggs put no weight on his left leg as he was carried by teammates to Orlando‘s locker room late in the first quarter of Game 2 against the Cavs on Monday night.

Somehow, someway he was able to return to the court to start the third quarter but that didn’t change the final result in the second game of the best-of-seven series between Orlando and Cleveland.

As the Magic did in Saturday’s Game 1 that they lost by 14, Jamahl Mosley’s squad trailed the entire night in the 96-86 loss at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

“It’s going to be just fine,” Suggs told reporters in Orlando’s locker room about his left knee that he strained in the first quarter. “We play Thursday at 7 and I’m going to be present.”

While Orlando avoided a serious injury to Suggs, the Magic find themselves down 2-0 in the series against Cleveland and head back home for what is essentially a must-win Game 3 on Thursday night at Kia Center (Bally Sports Florida, 7).

No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to take a series, so the Magic will face tough odds if they can’t capture a win in the third meeting between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the East.

Still, the Cavs did what they’re supposed to do — protect homecourt.

Cleveland won both games at home and the Magic now face a mandate to hold serve at home, where they went 29-12 in the regular season.

“It’s going to be great to be back at home, in front of our fans,” Mosley said. “That energy. That intensity. That’s something that we’ll be looking forward to.

“Take care of homecourt.”

It was another slow start that limited Orlando’s chances in Game 2 as it did in the first contest.

The Cavs closed the first quarter on a 16-5 run and scored 14 of those points after Suggs left the game to lead 30-18 following the opening frame.

Suggs collided his left knee with Cleveland guard Donovan Mitchell (23 points) with about 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Magic guard stayed down on the court as video replay showed his leg bend outward when he tried to go in for a steal from Mitchell.

Late in the second quarter, Suggs was diagnosed by the Magic with a left knee strain, the team said. Orlando initially ruled him as questionable to return.

Known for his toughness, Suggs was able to go through some light shooting and warm up at halftime to start the third quarter for the Magic.

He had 3 rebounds and an assists when he exited the game in the first quarter but finished with 6 rebounds and 5 assists to go with 9 points.

The sight of Suggs down on the court took an emotional toll on the Magic.

“It takes it out of our guys a little bit knowing our head of the snake of our defense on that ball goes down,” Mosley said about his team’s emotions when Suggs went down. “You do not want anything to happen.

“He made his way back in the game but in that moment, it does pull away from us. We were able to re-group and this team continued to fight.”

Franz Wagner (18 points) was limited to a single point in the second half after totaling 17 before the break. Paolo Banchero matched his Game 1 total (21 points).

Veteran guard Gary Harris (14) bounced back from a scoreless first contest by sinking 4 of 7 attempts from beyond the arc but he was one of just four Magic players to score in double figures.

Orlando was able to cut the deficit to 9 points twice in the fourth quarter but Cleveland held firm late in the game in front of a rowdy crowd that powered the Cavs throughout.

Now it’s the Magic’s turn to respond at home starting Thursday.

“We’re excited to go play at home,” Wagner said. “Do the same as they did.”

Jason Beede can be reached at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com

If you go …

Cavaliers at Magic, Game 3

When: Thursday, 7

TV: Bally Sports Florida/NBA TV