Cavs take a 2-0 lead over the Magic

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen dunks against the Orlando Magic during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Cleveland.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen dunks against the Orlando Magic during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Cleveland. AP Photo

CLEVELAND — Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, Jarrett Allen had 20 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers outlasted the Orlando Magic 96-86 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference series.

Mitchell set the tone as the Cavs led from start to finish, just as they did in Game 1.

It’s been an impressive opening to the playoffs for Cleveland, which spent the regular season waiting for a chance to redeem itself following last year’s first-round exit against the New York Knicks, who punished the Cavs in five games.

Cleveland has been much tougher this time around.

Evan Mobley added 17 points and Allen scored 16 — with nine offensive rebounds — for the Cavs.

Paolo Banchero scored 21 points and Franz Wagner 18 for the Magic, who have only come back to win one playoff series in 13 tries when losing the series opener. They’re now in an even deeper hole.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Orlando.

Magic guard Jalen Suggs went down with a sprained left knee in the first quarter. He collapsed to the floor after making contact with Mitchell and immediately grabbed his leg in pain. After being helped up, an emotional Suggs couldn’t put any weight on his leg as he was carried to the locker room.

However, the former high school football star returned after halftime with a sleeve on his leg.

KNICKS 104, 76ERS 101

NEW YORK — Donte DiVincenzo made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining after a desperate scramble, and New York beat Philadelphia to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

The Knicks trailed by five points within the final 30 seconds, on the verge of losing home-court advantage before a stunning rally, starting when Jalen Brunson finally got a shot to fall during an otherwise miserable night.

Brunson’s 3-pointer from the corner bounced on the rim and fell in, cutting it to 101-99 with 27 seconds remaining. Josh Hart stole the ball from Tyrese Maxey to get the ball back for the Knicks, but DiVincenzo missed a 3-pointer. Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed the rebound and passed it to OG Anunoby, who got it back to DiVincenzo, who hit that one to make it 102-101.

Hartenstein then blocked Maxey’s drive, Anunoby made two free throws, and the Knicks held on when Joel Embiid missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Brunson finished with 24 points despite going 8 for 29 from the field. Josh Hart had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and DiVincenzo scored 19 points.

Maxey had 35 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a brilliant performance after he was ill earlier in the day. Embiid had 34 points and 10 rebounds.

NUGGETS 101, LAKERS 99

DENVER — Jamal Murray sank a 15-foot step-back jumper at the buzzer and Denver wiped out a 20-point second-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.

Murray’s fadeaway, falling-down game-winner provided the Nuggets with their first lead since 5-3 in the opening minutes and gave the reigning NBA champions their 10th consecutive win over the Lakers.

The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 Thursday night.

Murray’s winning shot came after LeBron James misfired from long range with 16 seconds left and the game tied at 99.

Murray finished with 20 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Jokic posted a triple-double with 27 points, 20 boards and 10 assists. Porter added 22 points and Aaron Gordon 14 for Denver.

Davis led the Lakers with 32 points, James had 26 and D’Angelo Russell added 23 with a career playoff-high seven 3s. (AP)

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