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Cavs Win Nail Biter, Take 3-2 Series Lead

Photo via Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland OH. – Well, that was fun. Without Jarrett Allen (bruised ribs), who has been their best player throughout the playoffs, the Cavs gutted out a win over the Orlando Magic, 104-103. A block from Evan Mobley with 3.2 seconds left sealed the deal and the Cavs now have an opportunity to close the Magic out on the road. 

Tip Off!

This game started with an energy from the crowd and Darius Garland scored 17 of his 23 points in the first quarter. “Shoot the damn ball” is what Donovan Mitchell said after the game when asked what he was telling Garland. Even Garland said he was in “Shoot first mode. I will get spray outs later, but to start, I’m going to be aggressive to start the game”. That he was coming out and making six of his first eight shots, including three for three from three. Truly a breakout quarter for Garland who had been struggling this series. 

A Max Strus Sighting!

But Garland wasn’t the only one hitting from everywhere. After a 15-point second quarter that put everyone on edge, as the Magic climbed back into the game, the second half saw Max Strus and newcomer Marcus Morris Sr. provide the Cavs with a spark that was needed. After Garland went off in the first quarter, it looked like the Cavs had control and would win going away. But the Magic are a pesky bunch and clawed their way back with defense and a good game from Paolo Banchero (39 points 8 boards). But after a questionable foul call, Max Strus decided to come out of his funk he was in and start hitting shots. I have said it in previous articles. If Strus can start knocking down shots, the Magic will have issues. Strus got going, and then Coach JB Bickerstaff went to his bench and pulled out an old vet in Marcus Morris Sr. 

A Marcus Morris Sr. Sighting!

Morris talked after the game about waiting for an opportunity with the Cavs. He spoke about how difficult it was sitting on the bench the first four games, but having to stay ready if his number was called. It was called tonight, and he delivered. 12 points off the bench but timely shots kept the Magic defense honest and allowed the Cavs to have more space. It opened up the floor and whether they want to admit it or not, the Cavs just flat out play better with one big on the court. 


Tonight, it was Evan Mobley. A double double (14 points 13 boards), Mobley got back-to-back plays that really sealed the deal. First, on a Garland drive, Mobley got a dunk. On the Magic’s ensuing possession, Franz Wagner drove, and Mobley blocked the shot off glass. An incredibly difficult shot to get to and Mobley did it. This is how the Cavs should play. I don’t know if it’s possible once Allen comes back but the blueprint is there. 

Game 6

The Cavs will look to end the series in Orlando on Friday night. This group has not had a close out game since they have been together. It will be interesting to see what they do. But for now, everyone is celebrating what the Cavs did. They got punched in the mouth, they played a close game, and they overcame it all. Now, they need to do it one more time in this series and… who knows. Maybe this is the beginning of an incredible run for the Cavs. We shall see! 


Jayson Richardson

All Photos courtesy of the Cavaliers Instagram Account!

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