Donovan Mitchell shoulders blame for ugly Cavs loss: ‘I’m disappointed in myself’

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Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell said that he’s to blame for the team’s blowout loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

Mitchell believes that he hasn’t played at the top of his game ever since the first-round playoff series shifted to Orlando.

He scored 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field in Game 1 but dropped 31 points combined in Games 3 and 4.

In Cleveland’s 23-point loss on Saturday, the 27-year-old finished with 18 points while converting only five of his 14 shots from the floor.

While Mitchell might deserve a portion of the blame for Cleveland’s ugly losses in the last two games of the series, he isn’t solely responsible for the team’s back-to-back defeats.

For as underwhelming as Mitchell was from a scoring standpoint in Games 3 and 4, Darius Garland — who averaged 18.0 points per game during the regular season — was even worse.

Garland mustered just 19 points combined in the pair of games played at Kia Center and had one of his worst offensive showings of the season in Game 3, considering he ended up with only five points on 2-of-10 shooting from the floor and 1-of-4 from 3-point range.

The Cavaliers’ lack of success on the defensive end since the end of Game 2 is also a contributing factor for why the first-round series is knotted up at two games apiece. After holding the Magic to under 90 points in Games 1 and 2, the Cavs allowed Orlando to respond with two very fruitful offensive showings at home.

In Game 3, the Magic scored 121 points and handed the Cavaliers their biggest playoff loss in franchise history. Then in Game 4, Orlando torched Cleveland for 112 points on 55.8 percent shooting from the field and 46.2 percent from deep.

Mitchell and the Cavaliers have a pivotal Game 5 ahead of them on Tuesday. In NBA playoff history, 84 percent of teams who obtain a 3-2 series lead end up winning the series.

Considering how well Mitchell played on the offensive end of the floor at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to begin the series, there’s a good chance he will put on another scoring masterclass in arguably the team’s most important game of the season to this point.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.