Magic survive Donovan Mitchell’s 50-point game, force Game 7

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic huddled up four minutes into the third quarter of Game 6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Coach Jamahl Mosley called a timeout amid a 13-4 Cavaliers run that propelled Cleveland from down four at halftime to up seven. His message to his young team was simple: “Stay the course. This is a long game. We have to understand it’s a game of runs.”

It was still a five-point game heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic took the lead within the first two minutes. Paolo Banchero scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic overcame a 50-point performance from Donovan Mitchell to hold off the Cavs 103-96 and force a Game 7 on Sunday in Cleveland.

Franz Wagner finished with 26 points while Jalen Suggs had 22 points and six 3-pointers.

“Anything they have done to try and throw us off our game, knock us off balance, we’ve responded to it,” Suggs said. “We didn’t want to end it here and I think we all found comfort in that — in understanding how much pressure, you can call it, is on this game. But it was just another game for all of us.”

Maintaining poise has been a message Mosley has conveyed to his team all season. During this playoff series — all but three Magic players’ first times in the postseason — it’s been crucial.

It was even more important in Game 6, not because of Cleveland’s third-quarter run, but because of Mitchell’s offensive performance.

“He was going, but the other guys didn’t have it going as much,” Mosley said. “No one overreacted (to Mitchell). He’s a special, special player. To be able to have 50 and only make three 3’s. That’s very special. But our ability not to overreact or panic to what was happening because we continued to share it , move it, trust each other.”

Mitchell’s 50 points are tied for the second-most in a loss in a potential series clincher in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Mitchell also became the first player in NBA postseason history to have multiple 50-point road losses.

As a team, the Cavs went just 7-of-28 from 3-point range and 5-of-10 from the free throw line. They committed eight of their 13 turnovers in the fourth quarter. Mitchell was the only Cavaliers player to score in the final 14 minutes of the game, and his 22 points in that span are the second-longest streak to end a playoff game in 25 years.

“We missed shots. Mine went in, but if it’s not 50 maybe it’s 60 or whatever it is,” Mitchell said. “Maybe it’s 30-10-10 whatever the game calls for. It is what it is. We didn’t win the game. If I had 20 more, we would be up 20 more. Whatever the game calls for, it’s my job to figure it out.”

After the game, Mitchell called for his team to attempt 30 to 40 3’s per game. He wants to see more free throws when they drive to the hoop as much as they did, scoring 66 points in the paint. He wants more pressure on the boards, as they were outrebounded by 10.

But he also said repeatedly, “It’s over with.” With Game 7 quickly approaching, there’s a level of irrelevance to the “what ifs” from Friday’s game — or any other game in the series.

“All of the stuff you’ve done for six games all goes out the window,” Mitchell said. “It’s all about desperation and will. It’s going to be just like tonight — find was to continually be relentless. I have no doubt that we’ll show up.”