Cavaliers Ride Defense To Game 1 Win Over Magic

Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers, Magic, NBA Playoffs
Apr 20, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) dunks in the third quarter against the Orlando Magic during game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2024 NBA Playoffs, not a lot of people were very high on the Cleveland Cavaliers. How they went about closing out the regular season rubbed some the wrong way, as they seemed to be actively losing games to avoid certain matchups in the first round.

That led to some within the NBA world to rip the Cavaliers, who ultimately got what they wanted. They finished as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, setting them up against the No. 5 Orlando Magic and homecourt advantage in the first round.

They avoided having to play the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, or Miami Heat, who all were battling it out for the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 seeds. It was a strategy many thought the Cavaliers would rue, but through one game, their plan has been executed perfectly.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Orlando Magic 2024 NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

Cleveland put forth a very strong effort in Game 1 to get off to a 1-0 lead over the Magic. They won 97-83, exerting their dominance on the defensive side of the ball as Orlando scored over 25 points in only one quarter.

The Cavaliers played some stingy defense, holding the Magic to 32.6 overall percent from the field. They were unable to get anything going from the perimeter, shooting 21.6 percent from 3-point range.

It looks as if the Cavaliers learned a lot from their first-round series against the New York Knicks in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. In that series, the physicality that New York played with bothered Cleveland. Orlando is another physical team, but Cleveland took it to them in Game 1 and were the aggressors.

Leading the way for the Cavaliers was Donovan Mitchell, who scored 30 points. He shot 11-of-21 from the field overall, knocking down 3-of-8 from 3-point range and connecting on all five of his three throw attempts.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Orlando Magic 2024 NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

On the interior, the Cleveland’s duo of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were dominant. Both players recorded double-doubles in the game, chipping in 16 points apiece. Allen pulled down 18 rebounds while Mobley had 11.

When you add in the nine that Max Strus pulled down, that trio nearly outrebounded the entire Magic team on their own. If the Cavaliers can continue controlling the paint as they did in Game 1, essentially beating the Magic at their own game, this series could be over quickly.

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