Orlando Magic must win swing Game 5 to advance to second round

The Orlando Magic enter tonight's Game 5 matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers with momentum. But it can all go away of they do not win this crucial swing game.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three / Rich Storry/GettyImages

This is the one to get.

The Orlando Magic will find themselves in an envious position if they continue their winning ways with a victory Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5.

The Magic have applied the pressure to a veteran-led Cavs team by beating them twice in Florida, but now everything is even with a pivotal Game 5 in the balance. The difference between up 3-2 heading home to the Kia Center after two rollicking wins this weekend or facing elimination on Friday is a very wide gap.

In short, the Magic must-win Game 5 to have a higher probability of winning the series. Especially with a home game on Friday and a chance to close the series after two straight wins to even the series, there may not be a better chance to steal a game on the road.

Teams that win Game 5 when the series is tied 2-2 are 164-34, that is an 82.8 winning percentage, compared to the 17.2 percent chance to win when you go down 3-2. It is simple mathematics, you are more likely to beat a team once than you are two times in a row. And the Magic are working on four times in a row, which is a much more difficult feat.

It is not easy to beat a team two games in a row in the Playoffs, but that is what the Magic have done in the Kia Center. Now we will see how much this team has grown since Games 1 and 2 where they could not buy a bucket from beyond the arc. The Magic shot 17 for 72 in both games combined, that's a 23.6 percent three-point shooting percentage.

That is not going to get it done in Game 5. The Magic need to bring the same energy and intensity they brought at the Kia Center to have a chance of stealing the road game they need to win this series.

The Magic would probably rather win in a Game 5 situation with a chance to end it at home in Game 6, rather than lose Game 5 and have to beat the Cavs in both Games 6 and 7.

Losing Tuesday would put an extreme amount of pressure on the Magic's two stars to play their best going forward and will the team to victory. Either way keeping the current momentum seems like the best option.

It would be smart if the Magic handled business by continuing this current winning streak. Things feel easy. But the Magic have played well with their backs against the wall -- as they did in the regular season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks in a win-and-in game and as they did coming back home for Game 3.

Those too were must-win games, because the Magic had to win their way into this series and had to avoid the dreaded 3-0 deficit. The series would have been essentially open in embarrassing fashion if not for the win in Game 3.

It sounds like a long shot, but the Magic need to treat this game like they did Game 3 and beat the Cavaliers convincingly to demoralize their mentality at home. They need to get off to a strong start and carry forward the momentum they had on their home floor.

The Magic's coaching staff should preach that this is a win-or-go-home-type of game with higher stakes than a Game 3. That should reinforce the urgency needed to win a swing game like this.

The Magic should rather be in a position to close out the series at home than play with their backs against the wall on their home court in Game 6 on Friday. This is one of the youngest teams in the NBA and they have not experienced anything in the postseason as a team yet.

Then again, nobody needs to be told how important these games are late in the series. Even an inexperienced team knows how vital these games can swing a series. The Magic may be inexperienced, but now they have a taste of playoff intensity and clearly look more comfortable.

Right now, they Magic do not know how it feels to win or lose a Playoff series, every game is a new experience for this team. Unlike the Cavaliers, who are in their second Playoff run being led by Donovan Mitchell.

The Magic can expect the Cavs to come out with a sense of urgency when they get back on their home court. The role players in Cleveland will play better at home so the Magic will have to still defend at a high level as they have all season.

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It is called a swing game for a reason. The momentum swings to the team that wins and they are more likely to win the series. If Orlando can pull off a road win on Tuesday, they will have all the momentum needed to close out the series in six games.