Heading into this postseason, some players on the Cleveland Cavaliers had something to prove after last season's playoff meltdown against the New York Knicks. Doubly so for Donovan Mitchell, who was no exception to proving his doubters wrong. After coming out lackluster against New York last year and dealing with a bothersome knee injury leading into this year's postseason, there was worry about who would show up for Cleveland in Game 1 against the Orlando Magic.

So, even though Mitchell told the media he was 100% physically and mentally, he had to embrace the Cavs' catchphrase on social media and “let 'em know.”

Well, after finishing the game with 30 points, Mitchell did more than let them know. Instead, he let them know he's back to the elite player everyone expects him to be.

Marvelous Mitchell mauls Magic

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dribbles the ball in the second quarter against the Orlando Magic
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

As he repeatedly got into the paint, Donovan Mitchell looked like his old self again. He went 3-of-5 in the restricted area and 5-of-7 on midrange shots at the free-throw line or below.

Mitchell continually punished Orlando for switching slower defenders onto him throughout the game. His control of Cleveland’s pace helped them build a strong enough lead to help the Cavs survive a drought on the perimeter.

“It's all about setting a tone,” said Mitchell postgame. “This is exciting, and I love it, and it's great, but in the same token, this game is only one game. This is trying to set that tone, but now we have to do it again and again.”

One of the more impressive plays from Mitchell came in the first half when he scooped up a loose ball and went in for a soaring dunk. Sure, that jam was only his second overall dunk since February. But, it also let everyone know that he was feeling himself and that this was only just the start for him and Cleveland this postseason.

“He's ready for the moment,” Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff said. “And it's the Game 1s. It's the bigger games during the regular season. Like, he has the ability and the understanding of how important the start is. … Some people may have that idea or thought and understanding of it. But he's got the ability to time and time [again] go to that space.”

That space for Donovan Mitchell came when Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight was blasting on the loudspeakers of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It sparked a memory of past playoff runs made by Cleveland in Mitchell. But it isn't something he wanted to remember. Instead, he wanted to bring it back for the Cavs.

“This is who I am,” Mitchell said. “You know, that’s kind of been my message all year. This is why I’m here. And this was one game. You know, I could have had 10 tonight. As long as we get the dub, I’ll do everything it takes to win. But for me, I know I’m capable of this. I’ve shown it. So now, it’s just continually doing it on a night-to-night basis.”

Sure, it's only one game, but Mitchell's effort in Cleveland's much-needed Game 1 win was exactly why the Cavs traded for him. Now that he's back, feeling confident in himself and showing that what happened last year against the Knicks wasn't the new norm. Instead, Mitchell is setting the standard himself, trying to conjure up his own playoff magic for the Cavs against the Magic.