Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the surprising Orlando Magic team in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. This is one of the most under-the-radar matchups of the playoffs. Both teams have stellar defense. Both teams are young and that’s what makes this No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup intriguing.

Who has the advantage in this series?

Cleveland has the advantage over Orlando because of playoff experience. I’m not always on the side that playoff experience matters, but in this series, Cleveland has a little more because of Donovan Mitchell’s experience with Utah. Orlando could surprise all of us. They are a young team and have a bright future with talent like Pablo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, etc. The Cavs could win this series in six games.

Both the Cavs and the Magic have a defensive mindset. It’s going to be a low-scoring series in my opinion. Magic have a very good defense and they can throw a lot of bodies on you. Cavs have a good defense but a much better offense than the Magic. Orlando is not a high-volume shooting team. They don’t shoot a lot from the perimeter.

One of my concerns for the Cavs is their durability. What are we going to get from Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley? Donovan Mitchell is not 100% from a health standpoint. He has a knee problem which could cause him problems when he wants to drive to the basketball. He might say that he’s fully healthy but we will believe it when he steps on the court. The Cavs can’t have Mitchell carry so much load offensively in this first-round matchup against the Magic.

Teams are going to be blitzing Donavon Mitchell which will force him to pass the ball to Garland and Mobley. Garland and Mitchell need to co-exist on the court. They need to feed off each other and take as much load off each other. Consistent scoring is key. Mobley needs to knock down some shots from the perimeter. Caris Levert needs to step up. He’s been inconsistent lately so the Cavs need his production coming off the bench.

Cleveland will need to play hard and consistently. The head coach might want to play around with their roster and try to give more playing time to other guys on the bench. When you’re coaching, you have to explore options to see what works the minute something doesn’t go right.

This series will come down to who shoots better and which team will make crucial stops during crunch time.

Cleveland and Orlando will start their playoff series at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday at 1 pm.

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