Orlando Magic's trip to Game 7 is living every player's dream

The two best words in professional sports: Game 7. Everything will be on the line Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Orlando Magic are excited for the challenge.
Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are heading to a Game 7. After the big win Friday, their excitement for this dream scenario was palpable.
Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are heading to a Game 7. After the big win Friday, their excitement for this dream scenario was palpable. / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The party was on at the Kia Center after the Orlando Magic's 103-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6.

Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony embraced on the court following the emotional win as fans celebrated with the infamous Orlando Magic Theme Song remix. This young Magic team stood tall, withstood a 50-point effort from Donovan Mitchell and earned at least one more game.

The Magic will have to go on the road away from the friendly confines of the Kia Center to advance in the Playoffs. But they have that chance to advance in a do-or-die game and that is all anyone could ask for.

Even former Magic star Dwight Howard was in on the celebrations, making a surprise appearance at the Kia Center (alongside Rashard Lewis) for the big game and getting cheered in the process.

It was a wild and celebratory night for the Magic. But there is still work to do. There is still one more game to play. And this young Magic team, having survived their first elimination game, can now taste advancing to the second round.

All anyone could feel after this monumental Game 6 win, one where the team had to make shots and plays down the stretch to ice it, was excitement for the opportunity in Game 7. This is the kind of game everyone dreams of.

"Just excited. This is literally the stuff you dream about as a kid," Cole Anthony said after Friday's Game 6 win. "When I was in the NBA and we weren't making the Playoffs, I dreamed about it then. It's going to be fun. I'm excited. Can't wait to see the environment."

It is sometimes easy to forget that many of the Magic's players are still so young. They are not too far removed from imagining buzzer-beating shots and game-winning baskets in their driveways or at their local gyms.

This is many of their first playoff appearances, let alone their first appearance in such a high-pressured game. If they thought the intensity of Game 5 and Game 6 were something, Game 7 is going to be an entirely different animal.

But this is indeed what every person who plays basketball dreams about. Even just saying, "Game 7," carries with it a lot of history and a lot of weight. It brings with it a sense of anticipation.

It should be enough to get any player or fan excited.

"That's super cool," Franz Wagner said after Friday's Game 6 win. "That's what you work for not only as an NBA player but as a little kid. Those are the games you grow up watching. We want to win the game. That's our main focus. One day to recover and back to it."

While everyone is certainly still buzzing after the big win on Friday, there is still a job to do. The team still has to find a way to win one more game on the road to advance in the series. Everyone still has eyes on winning.

And in a Game 7, that is all that matters. There are no more adjustments to make and nothing left after the game. There is only Game 7.

Coach Jamahl Mosley has always preached to his team about playing with joy and excitement. The Magic have worked to keep everyone present in the moment through team yoga sessions and grounding exercises after every workout.

Mosley wants his team to embrace all the emotions of living out this dream and playing in these kinds of games. He wants everyone present for this moment. And still to enjoy it.

These are the kinds of games everyone imagines themselves playing in. That moment is here for the Magic.

"This is the moment that you play for," Mosley said after Friday's win in Game 6. "Why you do it. You do it for these moments. Being on the road, Game 7, the ability to come together to continue to grow in each game. That is what this group is looking forward to. Lay it all out there. Lay it on the line. One opportunity. I think these guys will all embrace that, knowing what they are capable of doing. It's not going to be easy. Nor do we want it to be easy. That is what this group has always embraced all year long. The harder it is the better we will be."

The Magic have yet to win on the road in this series. The message after every game has been that every team has taken care of business on their home floor. A close loss in Game 5 on the road should give the Magic some confidence. But they still have to get the job done.

And they have to do that without the energy from the Kia Center crowd. Mosley opened his postgame press conference by thanking the fans and the crowd in the building, saying they "willed us to that win."

Orlando will not have that in Game 7. They will face a nervous Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse that has been a house of horrors for the Magic this sereis.

But that is also what makes these moments even more memorable and special.

Playing a do-or-die game on the road. The Magic will have to have everybody contribute to ensure they get the win. It is indeed the stuff dreams are made off.

"We will always be able to share these moments that we went through this together," Jalen Suggs said after Friday's win. "Things like that get me excited. I can't wait to go out there and play in Cleveland, a hostile event. It's just everybody here on this roster, everybody on our bench, a couple of family behind the bench against an entire city. I don't think none of us want it any other way."

The Magic know they will need a special effort. Everything resets to zero when tip-off comes Sunday at 1 p.m. What happened in Game 6 does not matter anymore. Orlando always knew it was probably going to come to a Game 6 after it fell behind 2-0.

But these are the moments every player grows up dreaming about.

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On Sunday, this dream comes true for a young team. With how they have handled the pressure this season, there seems no doubt they will be ready for it.