Kevin Garnett on Cavs: ‘They got an identity, but then they don’t wear it all the time’

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Former Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett directed some criticism the Cleveland Cavaliers’ way regarding their identity ahead of a pivotal Game 6 in the first-round series between the Cavaliers and Orlando Magic.

The Cavaliers own a 3-2 lead in this series, but the team has yet to win a game on the road since the start of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

Not only did Cleveland drop Games 3 and 4 at Kia Center, but both games were blowout losses.

In Game 3, the Magic beat the Cavaliers by 38 points and handed the team its largest loss in franchise playoff history. No player on Cleveland scored more than 15 points in the defeat, and the Cavaliers shot just 39 percent from the field.

Two days later, on April 27, Orlando handed Cleveland a similarly lopsided loss. The Magic won by a final score of 112-89 thanks to a 34-point performance from Franz Wagner, who converted all but four of his 17 shots from the floor while also chipping in 13 rebounds, four assists and one block.

While the blame for Cleveland’s two playoff losses on the road can’t be solely attributed to one player, arguably Donovan Mitchell’s two worst scoring performances of the series thus far has come in Games 3 and 4.

Mitchell scored a combined 31 points in the two games and converted just 11 of his 30 field-goal attempts. For comparison, the 27-year-old dropped 30 points in Game 1 alone on 11-of-21 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 from deep.

The guard had a particularly rough outing from a scoring perspective in Game 3, as he scored a series-low 13 points and missed all but one of his six 3-point attempts.

If Mitchell can’t shake his scoring woes on the road in Game 6, it’s difficult to imagine that the Cavaliers will be able to eliminate the Magic and punch their ticket to the second round of the playoffs on Friday.

Game 7 of the series would take place on Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse if Cleveland were to pick up a loss in Game 6.

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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.