top of page

NBA Playoffs Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers VS Orlando Magic.

The first round of the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs features an exciting matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers & Orlando Magic. Game 1 ended with the Cavaliers defeating the Magic 97-83 in their playoff opener, but there's still a lot of basketball left to play.  Game 2 is Monday, and 24 hours is a long time to make adjustments.

Paolo Banchero has taken the Magic to another level since being drafted, and the former No. 1 overall pick will have to rise to the occasion during his first playoff run. His game improved to an All-Star level in his sophomore season, and now he's led the Magic to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years in the 2nd year of his tenure. He scored 24 points in the series opener and tied Shaquille O'Neal for the most points in a Magic playoff debut for a rookie. Forward Franz Wagner also improved this season and had 18 points with seven rebounds in his playoff debut. Regardless of their efforts, it wasn’t enough to secure the victory, and Donovan Mitchell’s 30 points were difficult to overcome.

Mitchell led the Cavaliers to a 48-34 regular season record . Ever since the trade from the Utah Jazz, he has established himself as the centerpiece of the Cavaliers. He has yet to amount to any significant playoff success, even when the Jazz was the No. 1 seed, but his skill has never been questioned. The five-time All-Star averages 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. His backcourt mate, Darius Garland, also plays a significant role every night with his scoring and playmaking.

The Cavaliers have an older and more experienced roster. In contrast, the Magic are younger and more athletic. Mitchell experienced the playoff atmosphere almost every season in Utah, and he performed better with increased stakes, which translated to Saturday afternoon. Banchero’s athleticism allows him to play beyond his current age and do things on the court that other 2nd-year players can not. Either characteristic can be an advantage, and it only depends on who performs better on the night. 

The series will tell the public a lot about both teams. How well the young Magic deal with adversity, and if the Cavaliers are a talented enough team to make a deep run after losing 4-1 to the New York Knicks last year in the first round. As of right now, the Magic have to even the series, or they will have to go home down 2-0, and this young team has never felt that type of pressure. The winner of game 2 will have a lot of momentum, and either team can win the series. The winner will face the winner of the Miami Heat & Boston Celtics series. Monday will be a test of wills, and the excitement of the playoffs is just beginning. 


bottom of page