NBA playoffs

Cavaliers edge Magic on late block, take 3-2 series lead


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Cavaliers edge Magic on late block, take 3-2 series lead

IMPACT. Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley dunks on Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. in Game 5.

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Cavs escape the Magic by the slimmest of margins with several clutch plays, highlighted by an Evan Mobley block in the dying seconds

Evan Mobley blocked Franz Wagner’s attempted layup with 5.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, helping the host Cleveland Cavaliers secure a 104-103 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Tuesday, April 30 (Wednesday, May 1, Manila time).

The Cavaliers have won all three of their home games to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is in Orlando on Friday, May 3.

Donovan Mitchell erupted for 28 points for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers, while Darius Garland scored 17 of his 23 points in the first quarter. Max Strus had 16 points, and Mobley collected 14 points and 13 rebounds.

“Defensively, [Mobley] was huge,” Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff said. “He had a great block. He guarded it seemed like everybody out on the floor, and that’s what it came down to. Evan was phenomenal defensively. Containing the ball, challenging shots, forcing misses and helping us rebound.”

Marcus Morris Sr. added 12 points off the bench to help a Cleveland team that was without Jarrett Allen, who was ruled out due to a right rib contusion that he sustained in Game 4. 

Allen has averaged 17.0 points and 13.8 rebounds in four games this series.

Orlando’s Paolo Banchero recorded 39 points and 8 rebounds after being limited to just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting from the floor in Game 4.

Wagner collected 14 points and 6 assists and Jalen Suggs added 13 points for the fifth-seeded Magic, who have lost seven straight road games dating back to the regular season.

Banchero sank a pull-up jumper to stake Orlando to a 98-97 lead before Mobley answered on the next possession with an emphatic one-handed dunk.

Mitchell added a free throw and Mobley converted a nifty feed from Garland for an easy layup to give Cleveland a 102-98 advantage with 40.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Wagner made a layup to halve the deficit before his attempt at a driving layup was blocked by Mobley. Mitchell made a pair of free throws before Banchero sank a three-pointer to cap the scoring.

“I was able to get downhill,” Wagner said of his late layup attempt. “Not the best decision (on my part), but [Mobley] made a good play.”

Suggs made 1-of-2 free throws to give Orlando a 64-63 lead, but Cleveland answered with a 12-6 run to end the third quarter. 

Strus highlighted that surge by sandwiching three-pointers around a driving layup.

The Cavaliers were up 48-47 at the break. –

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