Game 1 Recap: Cavs vs Magic

*** The Cavaliers knew their First Round matchup with the Magic would be physical, and on Saturday afternoon they threw the first punch early – running out to a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter and stifling Orlando the rest of the way – taking the Game 1 decision, 97-83, in a chippy affair at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Wine & Gold suffocated the Magic defensively all afternoon – holding them to 33 percent shooting from the floor, including 22 percent from long-range. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 30 points and both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley doubled-up in the wire-to-wire win. 

*** Cleveland dominated on the defensive end in Saturday’s victory – holding Orlando to 15 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third. The Cavs outrebounded Orlando, 54-40, allowed just 16 assists and held the Magic’s starting backcourt of Gary Harris and Jalen Suggs to a combined 4-for-22 from the floor, 1-of-12 from beyond the arc. 

*** After trailing by double-figures early, the Magic closed to within four in the second quarter. But Cleveland answered with a 16-6 run to extend the lead just before half. Orlando trimmed the Cavs two-touchdown lead back down to four in the third quarter, but the Wine & Gold again answered with force, putting together a 16-5 run to take a 15-point edge – and all the breaking room they’d need – into the final period. 

J.B. Bickerstaff | Cavs vs Magic, Post Game 1 | 4.20.2024

*** Coach J.B. Bickerstaff was pleased with his squad’s effort in Game 1. “I thought we did what we needed to do. I thought we stood our ground first and foremost, but we didn't allow ourselves to get caught up in the (stuff). We continued to play good basketball, share the ball, execute the things that we wanted to do. (We) thought that was their intent, was to try to disrupt the game. Our guys didn't take the bait.” 

*** After struggling down the stretch, Donovan Mitchell looked like himself again in the last week of the regular season – and that carried over into Game 1 on Saturday – leading everyone with 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep and 5-of-5 from the stripe, adding three assists and a team-best three steals in the win. In his last six games against the Magic, Mitchell is averaging 31.5ppg on 52 percent shooting from the floor. 

*** Mitchell talked postgame about Cleveland’s effort on both sides of the ball in Saturday’s win. “Getting back to what we do – I think that's the biggest thing – getting back to our game plan, continue to push the pace, get our looks, getting into the paint finding guys. And the biggest thing too is when you're not hitting shots, not getting discouraged and they were making some, but we were able to hold them under 90, which was great defensively.”

*** On Saturday, Jarrett Allen simply picked up where the regular season let off – doubling-up with 16 points and a game- and Playoff career-high 18 rebounds, going 6-of-10 from the floor, adding two assists and a pair of steals. 

*** J.A. on Saturday’s rough-and-tumble matchup in Game 1: “It was physical. Nothing was easy for anybody, whether it was a layup or even shooting threes. Everybody had a man on them at all times, and that's just the way that it's going to be during this whole series. It's going to be tough for anybody to score.”

*** Evan Mobley set the offensive tone early on Saturday, splashing home a pair of triples to start the scoring. (Cleveland would connect on its first five three-pointers before missing the next 19.) Mobley would go on to finish with 16 points and 11 boards – the fourth time in six career Playoff games with double-digit rebounds – going 6-of-12 from the field, adding a pair of assists while leading Cleveland with three blocks. 

*** As he often does, Darius Garland saved some of his best work until late – netting eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter – going 6-of-11 from the floor overall and leading both teams with eight assists. 

*** Paolo Banchero led the Magic with a quiet 24 points, adding seven boards and five assists – but Cleveland also forced the All-Star forward into nine of Orlando’s 12 turnovers on the day. 

*** After winning a defensive struggle in Game 1, the Cavaliers welcome the Magic back for Game 2 on Monday night. The series shifts to the Sunshine State for Game 3 on Thursday night, followed by a Saturday afternoon showdown for Game 4. If necessary, the First Round returns to Cleveland for Game 5 next Tuesday night, back to Orlando the following Friday and back to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse next Sunday if the series goes the distance.