Orlando Magic's three-point Playoff barrage shows them to never be afraid to take what's given

The Orlando Magic evened the series with a second-half barrage from three-point range. On top of one of the defensive performances the team has had this season, taking the shots the Cleveland Cavaliers were giving them paid off and is a huge key moving forward for the remainder of the series.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three / Rich Storry/GettyImages

If you polled most fans outside the Kia Center before they headed into a pivotal Game 4, most of them might say it would be a tough time for this young Orlando Magic squad to protect home court less than two days after one of their best performances of the year.

A 60-51 halftime deficit told that story. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley combined for 28 points on just four missed shots. Donovan Mitchell was hitting jumpers in what felt like seconds after any sliver of Magic momentum.

Paolo Banchero was having a tough half, going for just five points while committing four of the team's 11 turnovers. Franz Wagner was leading the way with 11 but it was telltale signs of the energy being spent 36 hours prior.

The Orlando Magic had their fun, but now the more experienced Cleveland Cavaliers were taking over and making things feel like their victories in Games 1 and 2.

12 minutes of game action ensued to open the second half and it was, without hyperbole, one of the best quarters of Magic basketball at the Kia Center in years.

At this level? It has been at least 10.

A 17-2 run opened the floodgates in front of a raucous Magic crowd as the home squad turning a nine-point deficit into a 74-70 lead.

The offense continued to spark, outscoring the Cavs 37-10 in the third, opening an 18-point lead they would never relinquish. The younger of the 'Swagner' brothers outscored Cleveland on his own, going for 12 points in 10 minutes on his way to 34 points.

The Magic routed the Cavs for a second straight game, pummeling them on the inside and feeding off the energy from their home crowd.

But what stood out the most, and opened the door for the most efficient game they have had all season (110.5 points per 100 halfcourt plays through three quarters), was Orlando stepping up to the plate and taking threes.

The Cavaliers' strategy throughout the series has clearly been to let the Magic shoot and live with the consequences. It worked brilliantly in Games 1 and 2 where the Magic shot 17 for 72 (23.6 percent).

It did not work so brilliantly in Games 3 and 4 where Orlando hit 25 of 63 (39.7 percent) from deep including 12 for 26 in Saturday's Game 4 rout.

Orlando hit six of its 10 3-pointers in the third quarter to stake the lead and supercharge the team's run.

Wagner cut the lead to five with a long ball. Jalen Suggs chipped in with a 25-footer two possessions later. Then, after Franz Wagner gave the Magic the lead with an and-one off the inbound, Wendell Carter struck gold, hitting back-to-back three pointers after being left open to balloon the lead to seven -- a lead they would not give up.

Another Jalen Suggs three and a corner make from Jonathan Issac (his third of the game), gave Orlando six threes in the quarter to Cleveland's two. Wagner had the best game of his career (34/13/4 on 13-for-17 shooting), but the Cavs were daring this streaky-shooting Magic team to take threes.

Matching up against a stout Cavaliers frontcourt has been a challenge.

Both Allen and Mobley are premier defenders and have been ultra-efficient on the offensive end.

They have switched onto Paolo Banchero a ton in this series once he gets inside the free-throw line and forced him into tight corners, trusting their ability to scramble and contest threes. It was a difficult task for him to take over as the best player on the floor with Mobley and Allen stepping into his airspace every time he got into the paint.

But with that, comes open outside shots, and Orlando finally decided to let it fly. Down nine in a huge Game 4, their six made threes on 60-percent shooting in the third marked just the 10th time they they accomplished that feat this season.

Each defensive stop made the crowd go wilder, and the team fed off the momentum on offense. Carter's 2-for-9 three-point shooting this series did not matter -- he was putting those up. Wagner was taking and making stepbacks from 25 feet. And if Cleveland is going to leave a 50-percent three-point shooter since the All-Star break (Jonathan Issac) open, he will make them too -- certainly more than he did in Cleveland after his 1 for 7 showing in Game 2.

The Magic said throughout their two losses in Cleveland earlier in the series that they remained confident in their process and the shots they were taking. They felt they only lost those two games because they missed open shots.

They paid that off in their wins in Games 3 and 4. Being home certainly helped.

“The confidence that they give you,” Suggs said after Game 3 on Thursday. “After every bucket, you see everybody stand up, you hear everybody cheer, you hear the roars. I think it excites you to come back down, get a stop, go do it again. It gives you a bit of extra motivation, some juice, some more pop in your step. It’s definitely felt. And it was rocking here today. Boy, that was fun.”

Suggs' comments from Game 3 still ring true today. The energy in the building was deafening and it allowed the young Magic squad to play freely and take the shots they were being dealt.

Heading back to Cleveland, the boos will ring much more than the cheers. The Gonzaga guard's chippiness with Donovan Mitchell in Game 4 will certainly be met with jeers in Ohio. The same goes for Moe Wagner's energy.

However, the Magic's mentality should not change. If they are being given open threes, they need to take them.

The Cavs' frontcourt has been dominant on both ends and has been an issue in the paint for the Magic this series (32 and 36 percent shooting in Games 1 and 2, respectively).

Volume results in makes, and Orlando 27 makes from deep was one of the biggest keys to victory at home and should continue to be a focus for the remainder of the series.

Next. magic swagger to even Cavs series. Magic embraced their swagger to even Cavs series. dark

In a pivotal Game 5, taking their confidence from three in Games 3 and 4 is a must if Orlando wants to steal homecourt and a chance to clinch back at home for Game 6.