Max Strus sends warning to Cavs teammates about NBA Playoffs ahead of series vs. Magic

3 Min Read
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Max Strus is one of the few Cleveland Cavaliers who has made a deep postseason run, and he is warning his teammates about what is to come in the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

“The playoffs are a different beast,” Strus said. “We better be ready to compete. It’s going to be tough. Any series is tough in the playoffs, so we’ll be ready to bring our best and hopefully be ready for it. They know everything about you. They know everything about individuals, plays, your team. I like our chances against anybody, so just be ready for the opportunity.”

Last season, Strus was a key player for the Miami Heat as he helped them advance out of the play-in round all the way to the 2023 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Denver Nuggets. The 28-year-old wound up with the Cavs last offseason as part of a sign-and-trade transaction.

Cleveland has not made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 2018, and last season was eliminated in the first round by the New York Knicks in just five games. It was a disappointing result the Cavs are striving to avoid this time around.

They enter the 2024 playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, setting up a first-round matchup with the No. 5 seed Orlando Magic. Cleveland was in contention for the No. 2 seed for much of the season but lost four of its last six games, including its regular season finale to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. The Cavs wound up two games behind the second-seeded Knicks.

With a 48-34 record, the Cavs finished one game ahead of the Magic and therefore will have home-court advantage in the series. The teams split four games during the regular season, with each side winning once at home and on the road. They last met on Feb. 22, a 116-109 loss by Cleveland at home.

Orlando is in the playoffs for the first time since 2020 and has not won a series since 2010.

Now in his fifth NBA season, Strus played in back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals with the Heat, who lost to the Boston Celtics in that round in 2022 before defeating them there in 2023, each a seven-game series. Last season, he averaged 9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while starting all of Miami’s 23 playoff contests.

So, he certainly knows what it takes to succeed in the pressure of the postseason, and his teammates would be wise to heed his warnings and draw from his confidence, starting with Game 1 of the first round against the Magic on Saturday.

Share This Article
Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.