Orlando Magic have to keep their foot on the pedal after Game 3 victory

The Orlando Magic took Game 3 by routing the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will need to keep that same energy to tie up the series on Saturday afternoon.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Orlando Magic ended a six-game home losing streak in the Playoffs on Thursday by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-83.

Orlando had not won a home playoff game since Game 5 of the franchise's 2011 series with the Atlanta Hawks. For the franchise and the Orlando fans, it was a cathartic moment, especially with how much the team struggled in Games 1 and 2.

That losing streak had nothing to do with Paolo Banchero. He showed the world there is a new era in Orlando Magic Playoff basketball.

The Magic ended that losing streak mainly because players were hitting their shots and the relentless energy they displayed throughout the entire game.

Orlando hit 13 of 37 shots from beyond the arc (35.1 percent). Those makes created driving lanes for players like Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs. It gave space for Banchero to operate and score in comfortable spots.

The Magic will have a day to rest but it is only one game. This is still a series. And, as Donovan Mitchell said after the Cavs' victories in Games 1 and 2, now they have to do it again. . . and again . . . and again.

Orlando will need to replicate this style of basketball if the team wants to tie up the series on Saturday. The series can shift on a dime. While the Magic may have found something they can replicate the rest of the series, now they have to prove it. And the Cavs are not going to lay down either.

Saturday is a new day and a new game. Thursday's raucous win is now in the past.

Shooting is so paramount in today's NBA. The ultimate test for the Magic will be how well they continue to shoot from distance for the remainder of the series. Orlando has to prove Thursday was not an outlier.

In Game 1, the Magic shot horribly from the three-point line, hitting only 8 of 37 shots from beyond the arc. The Magic's shot selections were not terrible in the first game, it was a lack of familiarity of the rims in Cleveland combined with the jitters of playing in their first playoff game.

For some of these players, last Saturday's game was the first time they have experienced what it feels like to play in a meaningful Playoff road game. The expectations from fans in Central Florida could not be too high considering that this was the team's first postseason rodeo, especially being a road game.

But the Magic never gave themselves a chance shooting that poorly from three.

In Game 2, the Magic shot a measly 25.1 percent from distance after only connecting on 9 of 35 attempts. The Magic played decent defense enough to win, but their lack of three-point shooting hampered their ability to tie the game or take the lead.

Orlando struggled to create much pressure offensively as the open shots kept missing. The team had no relief and coach Jamahl Mosley's rotation decisions and strategy came into question, especially his decision to start Jonathan Isaac over Wendell Carter in Games 1 and 2.

Again, the Magic never gave themselves a chance shooting that poorly from three.

In Game 3, the Magic were who we think they are from three, shooting a Playoff-best 35.1 percent from distance. They crippled the Cavaliers' defense every possession. Orlando was finally able to get downhill and score in the paint with 48 points in the paint. The Magic hit their mid-range shots too.

They literally looked like a totally different team. They looked like a team who could potentially compete for a title. Or at least win this series.

Their ability to hit the three-point shot consistently slightly opens up that window. But it will take them shooting well to win this series because they will have to win a game in Cleveland to do so.

The Cavs though are the ones seeking answers. After an 8-for-34 shooting performance from deep, Cleveland is now shooting 27.2 percent from three in the series. The Cavaliers have yet to score 100 points in any game of this series and have a 97.9 offensive rating for the series.

The Magic's defense has been the consistent theme throughout this entire sereis. Now the offense is finally catching up.

The Magic shot so well from distance in Game 3 that the Cavaliers will have to come up with some sort of game plan to contain the shooters. Or they may dare the Magic to do it again. That could leave them open to another offensive onslaught (at least relative to this series).

Next. Magic Keep Faith 04.26.24. Orlando Magic keep faith in their process entering Game 3. dark

The series still centers on Orlando's shooting. If the Magic continue to shoot well, they will tie the series up at two games apiece before traveling back to Cleveland for Game 5.