Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell Sends Strong Message on Facing Celtics

The Boston Celtics had to wait seven games.

Cavs without several key players for prime-time matchup vs. Celtics

They finally know who their opponent is in the second round of the playoffs. They will host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished off the Orlando Magic in seven games in the opening round. The Celtics could have their hands full with Donovan Mitchell.

Already enjoying a strong postseason, Mitchell is also extremely confident coming into the series after a strong showing versus Orlando.

Mitchell isn’t taking the Celtics lightly, though.

“We will have to be better to be to beat Boston,” Mitchell told reporters on May 5. “No disrespect to Orlando because they are a phenomenal team. They got a lot of great guys.

“But it doesn’t really mean much. We didn’t make the group we made just to come in and win the first round. You know what I mean? And, obviously, we have a tall task in Boston. But like I said after Game 5, one of you asked, ‘What does this win mean?’ Doesn’t mean anything.

“We accomplished one goal now we have to do it again. That’s the mindset. Like I said, we could celebrate this for a few hours. But we ain’t got really time to to do all that. So that’s my mindset. When they traded for me weren’t just to win a first-round series. It’s to continue to push and move forward, and I think that’s where all of our heads are at.”

Mitchell’s 28.7 PPG came on 55.4% true shooting in the opening round.

A five-time All-Star and first-time All-NBA selection last season, Mitchell has also produced against the Celtics in his career.

Celtics Must Contain Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell averaged 29.6 points on 58.1% true shooting in 16 games against the Celtics in his career, his second-best scoring mark against any team behind only the Utah Jazz whom he has only faced twice.

He averaged 30.0 points on 61.1% true shooting in two meetings with Boston this season.

The game slows down in the postseason, though, and Mitchell did a lot of the heavy lifting against the Magic to narrowly edge past them.

Mitchell finished with 50 points in Game 6 only for the Cavs to lose, failing to surpass the 100-point mark. The Cavaliers failed to reach that threshold in five of their seven games against Orlando.

The Celtics and Magic finished third and fourth, respectively, in defensive rating, per

Boston, however, also boasted the NBA’s best offensive rating, whereas Orlando ranked 22nd during the year.

Celtics & Cavs Battling Injuries at Center

The Celtics will likely be without Kristaps Prozingis for the duration of this series, a tough blow after he proved to be a key piece to their approach on both ends of the floor. The Cavaliers could be without starting center Jarrett Allen, who is dealing with a rib injury.

That still leaves Evan Mobley, who proved effective moving to the pivot in Allen’s absence.

Al Horford and backup Luke Kornet could have their hands full with him down low, though their main concern outside of Mitchell could be keeping shooters like Max Strus from getting hot.

Darius Garland enters the series having struggled in Round 1 and the Celtics have the edge in terms of size in the backcourt. And Cavs wing Isaac Okoro is also only a slight threat offensively, potentially allowing for more help from his defender.

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