close
close

Donovan Mitchell scores 50, Cavs lose to Magic; Training was a problem – Terry Pluto

CLEVELAND, Ohio – This was hard to watch.

That’s what I was thinking as I watched Donovan Mitchell try to drag the Cavs into the second round of the playoffs.

Mitchell wasn’t just good. He wasn’t even cool. He was EPIC.

The Cavs scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and Mitchell scored ALL of them.

Here’s the bad news: Orlando 103, Cavs 96.

The Cavs just lost a key playoff game with Mitchell scoring 50 points. They lost a playoff game and Mitchell scored more than half of the Cavs’ total points.

You can’t win a playoff game that way.

And that’s why the Cavs will face Orlando in Game 7 on Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

To repeat: None of this is the fault of Mitchell, who was also dealing with a knee issue. He scored most of those 50 the hard way, driving to the rim, taking hits and pushes, making tough layups and short shots.

In basketball terms, it was a brave and brave performance.

But it wasn’t enough for Cleveland.

A TRAINING PROBLEM

This is where coach JB Bickerstaff had to step in and demand his team DO SOME WORK.

Time and time again, all the Cavs did was put the ball in Mitchell’s hands in that fourth quarter and get out of the way. Mitchell played all 12 minutes of the final period. He made 7 of 13 field goals in the fourth quarter for those 18 points.

The problem was that the Cavs committed eight turnovers in the fourth quarter… EIGHT.

You can’t win a playoff game that way either.

Darius Garland finished with 21 points, but only made one shot in the fourth quarter. A DRINK.

He played well for three quarters. He made 10 of 16 field goals. He played with confidence and poise. In the fourth quarter, he had three turnovers.

But like the rest of his teammates, Garland was trying to force the ball toward Mitchell.

When the Cavs came out of the huddle after a timeout, did they make a play? No.

They just gave the ball to Mitchell. Heck, Max Strus (10 points, 4 of 7 shooting) didn’t even shoot!

THE FOURTH QUARTER FLOP

Yes, Mitchell desperately wanted to win this game. He played with a huge heart.

But weren’t you yelling at the TV, “GET HELP!”

That’s why the Cavs were outscored 30-18 in the fourth quarter.

“Donovan draws so many bodies to him that it opens up opportunities for other guys,” Bickerstaff said.

But in the fourth quarter, the Cavs needed Bickerstaff to demand the ball and players move. A stagnant offense leads to turnovers, like eight in the fourth quarter.

The loss is not all for Bickerstaff.

Evan Mobley sprained his ankle in the first half. He continued to play, but only scored three points in 34 minutes. He had seven rebounds and five blocks. It was obvious that he was suffering. The Cavs were already without star center Jarrett Allen (bruised ribs).

However, the lack of creativity on offense does point to coaching, and that can’t happen again in Game 7.