After a rough offensive night last Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a 0-1 series hole against the New York Knicks. The loss forfeits home-court advantage for Cleveland, forces an inexperienced Cavs team to play from behind, and, if you ask Donovan Mitchell, simply stinks.
“It’s a deflating feeling,” Mitchell said about the loss, per Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor. “But in the same token, there’s no room for that emotion. OK, we gave up 17, but how do we correct it? How do we move on from there? That’s what the playoffs are. We’re going to make mistakes. It’s going to happen. We’re going to give up offensive rebounds.”
But in the same breath, Mitchell was quick to promise fans that a different Cavs team would take the floor on Tuesday, one that’s physically and mentally prepared for the challenge.
“But there’s more physicality, there’s more intensity that can be had. Just got to clean that up, watch the film and we’ll be better,” Mitchell explained.
Despite the lack of support from his supporting cast, Mitchell showed up in his Cavaliers playoff debut.
Darius Garland Praises Donovan Mitchell After Cavs-Knicks Opener
Mitchell (38 points) and Darius Garland (17 points) accounted for over half of the team’s total points in the 101-97 loss. At times, it felt as though Mitchell was the team’s singular sparkplug and the do-it-all man who kept Cleveland in it.
Afterward, Garland spoke about Mitchell’s excellent night, praising the Cavs All-Star in the process.
“Donovan’s really good,” Garland said after the game, per the Cavaliers’ official YouTube page. “We need that the whole series and beyond. I mean, it’s really good for him just to see a couple go through and just get hot like that when we need him. It was a good feeling for all of us, him as well, and everybody in the building to see a couple go through from him, get the energy back up in the building. And on the defensive end, I think he was great. A lot of effort.”
Only Jarrett Allen, who finished with 14 points, managed double-digit scoring for Cleveland. For the rest of the Cavs team, Saturday was a difficult night at the office.
JB Bickerstaff Blasts Cavs Bench After Knicks Loss
Coach JB Bickerstaff relied on four players off the bench in Game One: Caris LeVert, Dean Wade, Cedi Osman, and Ricky Rubio. The quartet combined for just 14 points and finished with a minus-17.3 net rating.
For comparison’s sake, Knicks forward Josh Hart provided 17 points off the bench for New York by himself. The poor showing did not please Bickerstaff after the game.
“I mean obviously our bench has to give us a spark, we gotta find a way to manufacture some buckets,” Bickerstaff told reporters. “You know, how do we create for one another and how does our bench support our starting cast? We’ll go back and we’ll take a look at it, you know, but at some point in time, you got to find a way to just put the ball in the basket and I thought, I mean that unit kind of struggled there. I thought Cedi (Osman) was really good, he gave us a good burst and then you know, at the end of the day you can’t give up 17 offensive rebounds.”
The Cavaliers will look to rebound from the loss on Tuesday night.