Cavs players react after elimination from NBA Playoffs: ‘It’s the type of pain that keeps you up at night’

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

After a 51-win regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers had big goals for their first trip to the playoffs since 2018.

Unfortunately, their playoff journey didn’t last long. The New York Knicks made quick work of the Cavs in the first round, eliminating Cleveland before fans even had a chance to appreciate the fact that the team was there.

On Thursday, Cavs players offered their thoughts on how the season ended. They spoke honestly about the disappointment that comes with being eliminated.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for the Cavs. To some degree, the Knicks simply deserve credit for dominating the series in nearly every facet. But at the same time, Cleveland didn’t do itself many favors along the way.

The Cavs didn’t get enough bench production during the series. Aside from Game 2, the Cavs bench was held under 20 points in every single game. It’s likely not a coincidence that Game 2 was Cleveland’s only victory all series long, as the squad logged 36 bench points in that one.

Separately, there were times when the moment seemed too big for some of Cleveland’s best players. That’s often natural for players who are in the playoffs for the first time, but even Donovan Mitchell, who has a solid playoff track record, didn’t look like himself against the Knicks.

But perhaps above all else, New York’s Mitchell Robinson essentially erased Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen from the series. Robinson neutralized Cleveland’s star bigs on both ends of the floor and made his presence felt all series long.

New York is now moving on to face the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs, where the Knicks should have a real chance at cracking the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs, meanwhile, are entering offseason mode.

It’s clear that nobody within the Cavs organization is happy about the way the season ended, but the future still looks bright in Cleveland. There are some hard lessons to learn from the series against New York.

If the Cavs take those lessons to heart, they should be in good shape moving forward.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.