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Donovan Mitchell scores 30 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers open the playoffs with a gritty 97-83 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1

Vaseline 1 month ago

Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers said all week that they were better prepared for this year’s playoffs. They showed it on Saturday.

Mitchell scored 30 points, Jarrett Allen grabbed 18 rebounds and the Cavs looked mentally and physically stronger than last year, beating the Orlando Magic 97-83 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

“We’ve gone further than last year,” Mitchell said. “That is past tense. This is who we are now and this is how we want to play.”

Evan Mobley contributed 16 points and Darius Garland added 14 for Cleveland. Last year, the Cavs were defeated by the New York Knicks in just five games in the playoffs, leaving a lasting impact on the team.

This season, the Cavs entered the playoffs with more confidence, depth and relatively fewer injuries after a regular season marked by setbacks.

Mitchell has been dealing with a left knee injury for the past two months, but he has looked much better and served as Cleveland’s main offensive threat for most of the game.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic (Credits: FOX News)

In the first half, Mitchell’s powerful dunk marked his return and signaled a stronger showing for the Cavs in his second postseason with the team.

Orlando’s Paolo Banchero scored 24 points in his playoff debut but struggled with nine turnovers. The Magic’s shooting woes, combined with Cleveland’s strong defense, led to their low field goal percentage.

“We didn’t score enough,” Banchero admitted. “We missed a lot of free throws and couldn’t make our three-pointers. There is a lot we could have done better.”

Game 2 takes place Monday at the energetic Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, where despite a disrupted pregame routine, Mitchell quickly got into playoff mode with the help of some pregame music.

“He’s ready for these big moments,” Cavs coach JB Bickestaff said. “He knows how important it is to start strong, whether it’s in Game 1 or a crucial match.”