Apr 19, 2024 - News

What you need to know about Cavs vs. Magic

The Cavs Donovan Mitchell in white jersey from the back.

It all comes down to Donovan. Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

For the second straight year, the Cavs are a four-seed entering the NBA playoffs. They begin what promises to be a first-round slugfest against the upstart Orlando Magic at 1pm Saturday.

Why it matters: NBA pundits and prognosticators are convinced that if the Cavs repeat last year's early exit, star Donovan Mitchell and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff are as good as gone.

Flashback: Last season, a hard-nosed New York Knicks team embarrassed the inexperienced Cavs, dispatching them in five games in the best-of-seven first-round series.

State of play: Both the Cavs and the Magic hang their hats on defense, so games should be gritty and low-scoring.

Between the lines: Though close to full strength, the Cavs will be without Dean Wade, one of the league's best perimeter defenders, for at least game one.

🫣 Sam's pick: Cavs in 6?

  • This is a pure homer pick, because in truth the Magic have momentum on their side and are playing with nothing to lose.
  • Yes, but: Playoffs often come down to top players, and the Cavs will have the best guy on the floor in Mitchell. He can grab the series by the horns.

Tune in: The first four games of the series have been scheduled — Saturday in Cleveland at 1pm (ESPN); Monday in Cleveland at 7pm (NBAtv); Thursday in Orlando at 7pm (NBAtv); and next Saturday in Orlando at 1pm (TNT).

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