4 Players who stepped up big with the Magic’s season on the line

Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Six
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Six / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
1 of 4

Going into their first playoff series since the 2019-20 season, the Orlando Magic were the underdogs. The Cavaliers are older, more experienced, have true star power on the roster and are under pressure to finally win a playoff series with their big four of Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen. 

And yet, the Magic just refuse to go away. It took them two games to get their feet under them, but since then, they have pushed back every time they got a chance. Securing the 103-96 win, the Magic survived elimination and forced Game 7. 

So, let’s look at four Magic players who stepped up big with the team’s season on the line. 

4. Paolo Banchero

After his 39-point performance in Game 5, we expected nothing less than another heroic game from Paolo Banchero. He is, after all, the leader of this young squad and a superstar in the making

With how he has played this season, it is easy to forget at times that Banchero is only 21 years old. Asking such a young player to carry a team that is facing elimination from the playoffs is not always fair. This is his first playoff run, and young players tend to make mistakes in those situations. 

Banchero’s play throughout this series has not been flawless, but he delivered with the Magic’s season on the line. Finishing the game with 27 points on 45 percent shooting from the field, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal, he led his team to the win. 

Rather than taking low-percentage threes, he attacked the rim and got to the line, converting 7 of his 10 free-throw attempts. He also took care of the ball in this one. The Magic do not have a true point guard in their starting lineup and Banchero has the ball in his hands a lot. 

In games one and two, he seemed to struggle with that, racking up 9 and 6 turnovers respectively. In Game 5, which the Magic lost by only one point, he had five turnovers. Last night, he managed to keep that number at three, his lowest mark other than the zero turnovers in Game 3. 

Even if the Magic do not win this series, Banchero has proven that he is on the brink of superstardom and that his team deserves more attention.