ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) After never even having a lead in Cleveland, the Orlando Magic came back with the biggest postseason victory ever over the Cavaliers.

Paolo Banchero had 31 points and 14 rebounds, Jalen Suggs added 24 points and the Magic rolled to a 121-83 rout on Thursday night, cutting the Cavaliers' lead to 2-1 in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Franz Wagner finished with 16 points and eight assists for the Magic, who led by 43 points on the way to the third-largest margin of victory in a playoff game. They earned their first playoff victory since 2020 and the first on their home floor since April 26, 2011.

They can even the series with a victory at home Saturday afternoon.

“Nobody’s partying,” said Banchero, who had no turnovers in 29 minutes after committing 15 in the first two games. “We know we have to do the same thing on Saturday. Obviously we’re proud of the win tonight. It is big for this group to get your first playoff win but we want the whole series.”

Jarrett Allen had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who shot 39% from the field and 23.5% from 3-point range. Caris LeVert added 15 points and Donovan Mitchell had 13 points and seven assists.

The Cavs' previous worst playoff loss was a 36-point defeat against Washington on April 24, 2008.

“We knew they were going to come out with a punch but we’ve got to find a way to score and it starts with me,” said Mitchell, who had his left knee packed in ice after falling into Banchero early in the game. “You don’t get two wins for winning by more than 20, so you’ve got to keep it in that perspective.

"At the end of he day we could have lost by 20 or 40, it doesn’t matter. It’s one win.”

Orlando finally took its first lead of the series in the first quarter and blew the game open in the third. Mitchell, Allen, and Cleveland starters Evan Mobley and Max Strus were taken out of the game with 3:16 left in the period and the Cavaliers down 92-58.

“I feel like it was reverse roles,” Allen said. “When we were at home we came out with a lot of energy, a lot of physicality, and they did the same thing to us and we just didn’t respond right away.”

After missing 10 of their first 11 shots and falling behind by seven, the Magic made 34 of their next 52 field-goal attempts and finished the game at 51.1% (47 for 92).

A 3-pointer by Banchero with 5:27 left in the first quarter gave them their first lead of the series and they closed the period on a 13-0 run. Cole Anthony's 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer, his first basket of the series, made it 31-21.

Banchero scored twice and Suggs and Jonathan Isaac hit 3-pointers in a 10-0 run late in the first half that left Orlando with a 55-34 lead.

Banchero and Suggs took over the third quarter, combining for 21 of Orlando's first 27 points.

Their only playoff victories larger than this one were by 47 over Boston in 1995, and by 43 against Atlanta in 2010.

The Magic made one lineup change after losing the first two games by 14 and 10 points and shooting just 34.3%. Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the starting lineup at center after being replaced by Isaac in Games 1 and 2 and the regular-season finale.

“A lot of his stuff doesn’t show up in the stat sheet but I thought he did a great job of keeping Jarrett off the glass a little bit,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said of Carter, who had two points and five rebounds.

Considering the results of all thee games, Carter is likely to start again in Game 4.

“It’s a lesson learned about the importance of the start of the game, and setting the tone,” said Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “They came out and set the tone, we tried to respond and we struggled in doing so.”

Ashley Moyer-Gleich was part of the officiating crew for the game, her first NBA playoff assignment. Moyer-Gleich became the second woman to be part of a referee crew in the playoffs, joining Violet Palmer, who last worked a playoff game in 2012.


This story has been corrected to show that Orlando's previous playoff victory was in 2020. A previous version said that it was in 2019.

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