Report: Celtics believe they can handle Donovan Mitchell’s onslaughts as long as they contain other guys

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics seemingly are content with letting Donovan Mitchell have some bigger scoring games as long as they can keep the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers in check.

“Mitchell will have a lot of one-on-one matchups,”’s Terry Pluto wrote. “Boston believes it can handle his onslaught if the other guys are limited. In eight playoff games, Mitchell is averaging 29.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He’s shooting 46% from the field, but only 27% on 3-pointers.”

Boston easily took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Cleveland on Tuesday night, winning 120-95 despite Mitchell scoring 33 points.

The All-Star guard was efficient, shooting 12-for-25 from the field and 4-for-11 from beyond the arc, but only one other Cavs player – Evan Mobley – scored over 15 points in Game 1. Mobley finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Mitchell was able to carry the Cavs at times in the first round against the Orlando Magic, scoring 28 points in Game 5, 50 points in Game 6 and 39 points in Game 7 to lead the team to a series victory.

However, that may not be as effective against a Boston team that finished the regular season with the best net rating and offensive rating in the NBA.

Boston – unlike Cleveland – wasn’t reliant on one player in Game 1. Jaylen Brown led the way for the Celtics with 32 points, but Derrick White (25 points), Jayson Tatum (18 points), Payton Pritchard (16 points) and Jrue Holiday (14 points) all scored in double figures as well.

In Game 1, Mitchell took 10 more shots than any other player on the Cavs (Darius Garland was second on the team with 15 shot attempts). Garland, who finished with just 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting, has to step up for the Cavs to make Boston a little more nervous about defending Cleveland’s attack.

With Jarrett Allen missing the last several games for Cleveland, it is down a consistent offensive threat, which makes things much easier on opposing defenses. Allen averaged 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in the regular season.

Mitchell has attempted over 20 shots in six of his eight playoff games this season, so it’s hard to see the Cavs changing much about their offense since they’ve played through him for so many games on this run.

However, if the team continues to be a one-man show, the Celtics have shown that they can beat Cleveland pretty easily.

Game 2 between the Celtics and Cavs is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday night in Boston.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.