No one knows memes better than Cleveland Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen. That's right, memes. The DNA of the soul. Exposing someone to too many offensive rebounds long enough will cause them to learn to hate. They become carriers. Envy, greed, despair… All memes. All passed along.

When Cleveland saw last season end at the hands of the New York Knicks, Allen infamously said that the lights of the playoffs may have been brighter than the Cavs expected. This brief soundbite became a meme that took sports fans by storm and became something that everyone, fair or not, associated with Allen and his team's performance against New York.

Are the lights still too bright this postseason?

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and center Jarrett Allen (31) celebrate during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Looking ahead to this upcoming playoff matchup with the Orlando Magic, Allen doesn't think the lights will be nearly as bright this time around for Cleveland.

“After the eclipse we kept staring into the sun, so nothing can be as bright,” Allen quipped to the media after practice. “We’ll be alright.”

While Allen's joke about the eclipse is completely valid, the Cavs are better prepared for this postseason than they were during last season's meltdown. Last year’s loss to the Knicks was an eye-opener in many ways, but it was also a necessary tutorial showing them how different things can be compared to the regular season.

“He probably didn’t know what to expect, so that’s just not knowing and not having the experience,” Cleveland veteran big man Tristan Thompson said of Allen’s comment. “I think the guys that were on the team last year, I think that was good for them to get their a— whooped by a very tough New York team because it lets them know how tough the playoffs are.

“And then for the veterans that came in, myself, Max [Strus], Georges [Niang], we’ve been in a playoffs series, been in a handful, whether up or down, we know what it takes. I think it’s a good combination of guys that have had success, but also guys that have had failure that are hungry for more.”

With 359 total playoff appearances combined between every player on the roster, there won’t be any more surprises. Any lingering nervousness seems to be gone, with a quiet confidence that doesn't seem to borderline on arrogance whatsoever. Sure, last year's playoff disaster humbled the Cavs, but this time around, it's keeping them grounded and focused on the bigger picture.

“Everybody’s locked in,” Darius Garland said about the team’s mindset heading into Game 1. “The last two practices we can see the focus of everybody. You can see the intensity that everybody has going into practice when we’re playing 5 on 5 or when they’re going through actions. We’re trying to take the next step. We’re not trying to be like how we were last year.”

Magic-Cavs playoff clash

In preparation for their opening-round matchup, Cleveland has been discussing the need to keep Orlando off the free-throw line, limiting an already anemic offense from scoring even more. There’s also been an emphasis on valuing every offensive possession, preventing the young, athletic Magic from forcing turnovers and getting out in transition.

“We know this Orlando team. We know what their strengths are, we know what their weaknesses are,” Thompson said. “If anyone watches the Orlando Magic, the one thing you’re always going to say is they play hard and they compete. I think that’s why they’re able to put themselves in this position and be in the playoffs because of how hard they compete each and every night. We know that’s going to be a big staple for them. Who they are is a team that’s going to play hard and physical and try to get under your skin. Just got to be mentally tough and throw the first punch.”

Clearly, the Cavs are in a much different physical and mental state this postseason than last. As long as the lights aren't too bright, Cleveland should be ready when things open in Game 1 at home against Orlando. Garland shared with ClutchPoints that he expects Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, or the Rock as he called it, to be rocking. And with the support of Cleveland fans, the Cavs can instead make the lights brighter than what the Magic expected.