Donovan Mitchell says he only got 2 or 3 hours of sleep before torching Magic for 30 points

3 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been to the second round of the playoffs since the 2017-18 season. They are one step closer to advancing to that stage after Donovan Mitchell’s heroics gave them a Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday in their first-round matchup.

Mitchell scored 30 to lift Cleveland to a 97-83 victory. Fortunately, a lack of sleep didn’t hurt his performance. According to the five-time All-Star, he was able to sleep for just two to three hours on the eve of the series opener due to excitement.

“I only got two or three hours of sleep last night because I was sitting there hyped,” Mitchell said after the game Saturday. “Everything that happened tonight — seeing the towels, seeing the white out, it’s just something you always dream about as a kid. I will never lose that. This is exciting and I love it and it’s something that’s great. But in the same token, this is only one game. Now we have to do it again and again.”

Entering the playoffs, plenty of narratives had taken over the Cavs’ run to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, including Mitchell’s health coming into their battle against the Magic. He assured fans that he felt 100 percent physically and mentally ahead of the playoffs. Based on his performance on Saturday, “Spida” seems to have indeed shaken off the injuries that plagued him toward the end of the regular season.

Perhaps what made Mitchell’s 30-point showing more impressive was that it came against one of the stingiest defenses in the league this season. The Magic allowed just 108.4 points per game during the regular season, the fourth-lowest among all teams.

Orlando’s trademark defense was still on display in the series opener. After all, the Cavs couldn’t even reach the 100-point mark. However, they gave the Magic a taste of their own medicine, thanks in large part to Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley patrolling the paint. Allen hauled in 18 rebounds, helping prevent second-chance points, while Mobley added 11 boards and blocked three shots.

Hopefully, Cleveland can redeem itself following its heartbreaking elimination at the hands of the New York Knicks last year. That series saw the Cavs win just one contest and Mitchell average 23.2 points per match on a 43.3 percent shooting clip.

A piece of good news for Cleveland is that 76 percent of teams that win Game 1 go on to clinch the series. Only time will tell if Mitchell can lead the Cavs to the next round, where either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat will await.

Share This Article
Orel is a freelance writer who is passionate about the NBA. He has followed the league since the late '90s and found increased interest in it in 2003 – when an 18-year-old prodigy from Akron, Ohio took the league by storm.