Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland offer focused messages as Cavs get set to face Celtics

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 7 victory in their playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Cavaliers stars in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland offered thoughts on the first-round series and looked ahead to the second round, where they will take on the Boston Celtics.

Mitchell acknowledged that the Cavaliers will likely be heavy underdogs — even despite the fact that Boston big man Kristaps Porzingis is dealing with a calf injury — against a Celtics team that won a league-best 64 games during the 2023-24 regular season.

The 27-year-old guard also expressed relief that Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will make his return to the lineup in the upcoming series after missing Games 5, 6 and 7 versus Orlando.

Finally, Garland admitted that while he’s happy that the Cavaliers won the deciding Game 7 of their first-round series on Sunday, Cleveland has already shifted its focus to the team’s upcoming series against a juggernaut of a Celtics team.

Game 1 of the series between the Cavaliers and Celtics will take place on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

It’s worth noting that the Celtics will head into this series with significantly more time to rest than the Cavaliers. After all, Boston closed out its first-round series against the Miami Heat on May 1 after blowing them out in Game 5, meaning by the time Tuesday rolls around, the Celtics will have gone almost a week without playing.

The Celtics and Cavaliers faced off against each other on three occasions during the regular season, with Boston winning two of those matchups.

First, on Dec. 12 of last year, the Celtics beat the Cavaliers by a final score of 120-113. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics on the offensive end of the floor, as they finished with 25 points apiece.

Two days later, on Dec. 14, Boston outplayed Cleveland once again and picked up a nine-point victory. All five of the Celtics’ starters scored 14 points or more in the win, and Tatum dropped a team-high 27 points on 22 shots from the field.

In the third and final regular-season game between the two teams on March 5, the Cavaliers earned a one-point win against the Celtics without Mitchell in the lineup thanks to a scoring eruption from Dean Wade, who scored 20 points in the fourth quarter alone.

Though the odds are stacked against Cleveland to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, it seems as if the Cavaliers believe they will be able to at least put up a strong fight.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.