Report: Cavs truly believe they can be title contenders

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Per NBA insider Shams Charania, the Cleveland Cavaliers believe they have what it takes to be title contenders.

The Cavaliers are fresh off a Game 7 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Cleveland beat Orlando by a final score of 106-94, and Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 39 points while shooting 11-of-27 from the field with the Cavaliers’ season on the line.

Early on in the game, it seemed as if the Cavaliers were about to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. After all, the Magic led by as much as 18 points in the first half.

But Cleveland outscored Orlando 63-41 across the final two quarters of the game.

With their Game 7 victory, the Cavaliers secured a matchup against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. For as talented as the Magic are, the Celtics project to present an even bigger challenge for the Cavaliers.

After Game 7, Mitchell made comments that indicate the Cavaliers are aware of the notion that the Celtics are heavy favorites to come out on top in this series and reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the straws that stir the drink of Boston’s offense. Both players averaged more than 20 points per game in the Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat, which they went on to win in five games.

Outside of Brown and Tatum, the Celtics also have a pair of two-way standouts in Derrick White and Jrue Holiday. White and Holiday are two of the best perimeter defenders in the league, so Cavaliers fans shouldn’t be surprised if they take the defensive assignments of guarding Mitchell and Garland.

But on top of being lockdown defenders, both guards are also capable offensive players. White scored 22.4 points per game versus the Heat and dropped a career-high 38 points in Boston’s Game 4 victory.

The second-round series between the Cavaliers and Celtics will start on Tuesday night at TD Garden with Game 1.

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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.