May 7, 2024 - Sports

Cavs vs. Celtics: Everything to know before Game 1

Cavs players Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell embrace each other on the court.

On to the second round. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Your Cleveland Cavaliers are advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since the LeBron era.

Why it matters: The up-and-down first round series against the Orlando Magic, which concluded Sunday after a grueling seven games, was as psychological as it was physical.

  • Donovan Mitchell proved once again that he is one of basketball's most electric superstars. His 89 points over the final two games got the Cavs over the hump.

State of play: For their troubles, the Cavs now get to play a top-seeded Boston Celtics team in Round 2, a series that just about everyone โ€” including the oddsmakers โ€” expects Cleveland to lose swiftly.

  • Boston is well rested after defeating the Miami Heat 4-1 in the first round.

The intrigue: Just like the regular season, the Cavs are dealing with nagging injuries.

  • Both Dean Wade, a bona fide Celtics killer who missed the entirety of Round 1, and Jarrett Allen, who missed the final three games, are questionable for tonight.

Yes, but: The Celtics will be without their starting center, Kristaps Porzingis, as he recovers from a calf strain.

Stat du jour: Evan Mobley recorded 21 blocks in Round 1, more than any other team in the playoffs thus far. He could give the Boston stars headaches in the interior.

๐Ÿงก Sam's pick: My head says Boston in five, but my heart says Cavs in seven.

  • The low expectations may be to Cleveland's advantage. They're playing with house money now.

Tune in: All games will be nationally televised on major networks.

  • The first four have been scheduled โ€” tonight in Boston at 7pm (TNT); Thursday in Boston at 7pm (ESPN); Saturday in Cleveland at 8:30pm (ABC); Monday in Cleveland at 7pm (TNT).
  • If the series extends, Boston would host Games 5 and 7, and Cleveland would host Game 6.
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