Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell entered rare air on Friday, despite losing 103-96 to the Orlando Magic. Mitchell amassed 50 points, building on his solid performance in the Cavs’ Game 5 victory on Tuesday.

Mitchell’s monster performance was the second-highest scoring playoff outing in franchise history, via BIGPLAY Cleveland Show. He finished with just one less point than what club legend LeBron James had in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Similar to James’ predicament back then, Mitchell simply didn’t receive enough help from his teammates to win the game. Point guard Darius Garland contributed 21 points, but nobody else made an offensive impact. Cleveland was missing center Jarret Allen due to injury, and Evan Mobley was also hobbled with a sore ankle. Mobley finished with just five shot attempts.

Mitchell also had 36 points in the paint, which was the most by a guard in a playoff game in the last 25 years. The 27-year-old eclipsed late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was the previous record-holder with 30 points.

Mitchell’s special night was spoiled, but the Cavs will have one more bite at the apple on Sunday at home. Will Cleveland be able to put together a more complete team performance in the win-or-take-all Game 7 bout?

The Cavs’ chances against the Magic largely depend on health

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (1) during the first quarter of game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Kia Center.

© Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the NBA Playoffs are a war of attrition. Teams’ seasons can often derail due to injuries alone. See: this year’s Milwaukee Bucks squad.

If Jarret Allen is out again due to his rib contusion, the Cavs will be in serious trouble. Allen has been a vital presence for the squad, averaging 17.0 points and 13.8 rebounds in 31.8 minutes a night this series. The 26-year-old’s reliability even caused analyst Brian Windhorst to compare him to James, via ESPN Cleveland.

Mobley being less than 100% would also be an issue. The 2021 third-overall pick has two double-doubles this series, and scored in double-digits in each of the first five games. Both players being hurt may be too much for Cleveland to overcome, as Friday’s contest showed.

The Magic, on the other hand, are fully healthy. Their only missing player on Friday was reserve guard Gary Harris, who was ruled out due to a sore hamstring. The upstart combination of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs present an unfair matchup for a wounded team. Each player finished with 27, 26, and 22 points on Friday. The outcome served as another reminder that team-oriented basketball will always beat a one-man show.

If the Cavs do lose this series, Mitchell’s future with the team may be called into question. This would be his second consecutive first-round exit after being traded to Cleveland from Utah in 2022.

The Louisville alum will have two more years left on his deal once these playoffs are over. However, he could ask for a trade if he sees an opportunity to play for a better squad.

Regardless, Game 7 on Sunday presents a crucial moment for the franchise on multiple levels. The outcome will not only affect its immediate future, but could set future changes in motion should the game not go its way.