Brian Windhorst: Cavs can win title in next 3 years if Evan Mobley keeps up play from Game 2

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers evened their second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics with a convincing Game 2 win, and NBA insider Brian Windhorst said he believes bigger things may be in store for the Cavs if Evan Mobley can keep up his impressive level of play.

“If Evan Mobley plays like this, they can win the championship in the next three years,” Windhorst said. “If he plays like this the rest of the series, baby, clear your June.

“But he doesn’t do this that much. He’s got all of the skills. That’s why you bash your head into the wall. Y’know, that he can do this. And frankly, I think the Celtics were shell-shocked.”

Mobley finished the 118-94 Game 2 win with a playoff career-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds. It was his third straight double-double and fifth overall in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. He was particularly effective in the first half on Thursday, posting 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists over the first two quarters at TD Garden.

The 22-year-old started at center in place of Jarrett Allen, who missed his fifth straight game with a rib injury. After helping the Cavs eliminate the Orlando Magic in a seven-game first-round series, Mobley is averaging 13.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game this postseason.

Game 3 against the Celtics is at Cleveland on Saturday with Game 4 scheduled to take place at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday.

Last year in his NBA playoff debut, Mobley averaged 9.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in a five-game first-round loss to the New York Knicks.

This regular season, he was limited to a career-low 50 appearances in part because of a lengthy absence caused by a knee injury that required surgery. He also injured his ankle in early March and is reportedly dealing with a “badly sprained” ankle right now.

However, he was able to return for the final stage of the regular season and has continued his strong play in the team’s two series so far. As Windhorst said, his performance could bode well for the Cavs’ immediate future as well as their long-term outlook.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Mobley will be eligible for a contract extension this offseason. In addition, star Donovan Mitchell may decide to stay with the Cavs for the long term as well.

Combined with Allen and Darius Garland, the Cavs could have their top four players secured for the next few seasons, holding open a possible championship window for a while.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.