It’s no secret that Donovan Mitchell has been nothing short of spectacular in these playoffs, but for the Cavs to even the series tonight in Boston, the bench must contribute.

Mitchell and Mobley accounted for 52% of the Cavs’ points in game one, with the bench only scoring 15 points, even with the starters being pulled late. Caris LeVert, averaging 14.0 PPG this season, only scored four of those 15. He was obtained last year to improve the team’s depth and will play a crucial role in the minutes that Mitchell is off the floor. In the third quarter of Game One, it was clear how dominant Mitchell can be but was gassed by the end of it. The bench couldn’t make any ground starting the 4th and forced Mitchell to enter quickly, only to come out flat. We all will be counting the minutes that Mitchell is on the bench, who will be relying on Darius Garland to have a big night next to him to keep up with the firepower that Boston brings. Cleveland provided a good job containing Jason Tatum and must look to repeat that effort tonight. Look, everyone knows that Boston can shoot, but the Cavs cannot let Derrick White go 7-12 from the arch, who scorched our guards for 25 points. 

Before everyone screams for JB to be fired after Game One, losing your All-Star Center Jarrett Allen in the previous series definitely has to be taken into consideration. It looked as if the Cavs were going to breeze by the Magic in the opening series with Allen dominating the boards early, and it would appear he would have had the same result against this smaller Celtics team if he were healthy. This puts even more pressure on Evan Mobley and the crew to provide the defensive standard we all expect in Cleveland. The Cavs held Orlando to just 91.5 PPG in the four wins at home compared to 112.0 PPG in the three away losses and in order not to go back to Cleveland down 0-2, holding the Celtics under 100 points could be key.

What I find interesting, however, is that in the 18 Celtic losses this season (only four of which were home), they averaged 117.7 PPG and just 106.8 PPG in the 64 wins. That tells me from time to time the Celtics like to get relaxed on defense like they did against the Heat in game two of Round One, and we’re hoping for the same result this time around. Regardless of how it gets done, the Cavaliers need this win and need it desperately.

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