NBA: Donovan Mitchell's 33 not enough in Cavaliers' Game 1 loss

NBA: Donovan Mitchell’s 33 not enough in Cavaliers’ Game 1 loss

/ 01:32 PM May 08, 2024

Donovan Mitchell Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA playoffs

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell looks to pass the ball during the first half of Game 1 of the team’s NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON — Donovan Mitchell kept scoring, and the Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t getting any closer.

Jayson Tatum was struggling, and the Celtics kept pulling away.

Mitchell led all scorers with 33 points on Tuesday night in Cleveland’s 120-95 loss to Boston in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Jaylen Brown scored 32 and Derrick White had 25 for Boston to help make up for a tough shooting night that had Tatum going 0 for 5 from 3-point range.


“Jaylen Brown’s an All-NBA player. He makes $300 million for a reason,” Mitchell said. “It’s not the first time he’s scored 30 on someone.”

READ: NBA: Celtics’ 3-point onslaught buries Cavaliers in Game 1

It wasn’t the first time for Mitchell, either: It was his third straight game with more than 30 points, and the sixth time in a row he has topped the number in a playoff series opener. Only Michael Jordan (three times), Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain have done that.

But Mitchell, who was also on the court longer than any other player, wasn’t enough for a Cavaliers team that needed seven games to eliminate Orlando in the first round.


“We try to put him out there as long as we can,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’re doing our best to keep him out there because we know how impactful he is. But we’re not going to run him into the ground, so he’s got nothing left in the fourth quarter.”

READ: NBA: Cavaliers rally past Magic in Game 7, face Celtics next

Mitchell, who scored 89 points in Games 6 and 7 against the Magic, played more than 20 minutes in the first half and all of the third quarter. But when he got a rest to start the fourth, Boston went on a 10-2 run to turn a 92-77 lead into a 23-point blowout.

“I understand I’m going to need to score the ball,” Mitchell said, adding later: “I trust my guys.”

Cleveland got 17 points and 13 rebounds from Evan Mobley, but the bench provided just 15 points. Tatum scored 18, going 7 for 19 from the floor overall, while adding 11 rebounds. Jrue Holiday scored 14 and Peyton Pritchard scored 16 off the bench.

“I think we knew what we were walking into,” Mitchell said. “That’s just who they are. You know they have different guys that can go in there and show. And so this isn’t like a shock. If it’s not JT it will be JB, it will be D-White, Jrue Holiday. They’ve shown that all season. So I don’t think it’s deflating, or it’s frustrating. I respect who’s out there on the floor.”

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