The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the early stages of the first-round NBA Playoffs matchup against the Orlando Magic. The Cavs beat the Magic 97-83 in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon after a challenging end to the season.  Cleveland has multiple offensive and defensive weapons to compete with Orlando, which is why they have a chance to win the series despite their late-season stumble.

Cleveland finished the regular season at 48-34 and is the No. 4 seed in the East. The squad got out to a great start to the season, nearly reaching the East's first seed but they went a on cold stretch that pushed them down the standings. Nevertheless, the Cavs are trying to prove that their stumble will not take their power away in the Magic series.

Cleveland made the NBA Playoffs for the second straight year in 2024. They look to avenge their 4-1 series defeat to the New York Knicks in 2023. Thus, they enter the Magic series with a fire to advance to later rounds, and they set the tone with a Game 1 victory.

A gritty interior and defensive performance headlined the Cavs' 14-point victory. Cleveland shot a lowly 26.7% on three-pointers but shot 44.4% from the field overall. They held the Magic to 32.6% from the field. Moreover, Cleveland amassed 48 points in the paint and out-rebounded Orlando 54-40.

Cleveland's Game 1 performance is a telling sign; however, it will not guarantee victory in the series. Their real strengths come from their personnel, starting with Donovan Mitchell.

Donovan Mitchell: the Cavs' upper hand 

Mitchell had another stellar regular season campaign in 2023-24. He averaged 26.6 points and career-highs of 6.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals through 55 games in 2023-24. Unfortunately, injury woes have slightly limited his action, but he enters the Magic series ready for war.

The star guard's postseason mindset is a sign of future Cavs success. He emphasized the importance of winning in the playoffs over everything else.

“It definitely is something that fuels me. This is what I want to be. This is why I work hard. I take the scrutiny. I take the praise. But in order for me to be considered one of the best to play this game, I’ve got to do something when it matters most. Individual performances are great. But team success has to come with it. That’s where I’m at in my career,” Mitchell told Chris Fedor of

Mitchell's words were backed up with actions in Game 1 against the Magic. He scored 30 points, three assists, two rebounds, and three steals. As a result, his team won by a sizable margin.

Donovan Mitchell gives Cleveland an edge like no other and is one of the vital two-way weapons that will provide them with the upper hand in this series. One of Mitchell's teammates makes a similar impact.

Jarrett Allen: the anchor to Cleveland's success

Jarrett Allen enters the 2024 NBA Playoffs with vengeance after the Cavs. Allen previously stated he believed pressure got to the Cavs in their disappointing first-round loss to the Knicks in 2023. Therefore, fans can expect him to put forth a concerted effort in the Magic series. He did just that on Saturday afternoon.

Allen finished the game with a commanding 16-point-18 rebound double-double. He went six for 10 from the field and was Cleveland's anchor. The 25-year-old will be key to the team's success, and if he continues to play the way he has, the Cavs should be on their way to the second round.

Of course, stars like Allen and Mitchell have plenty of help. Darius Garland and Evan Mobley look to impose themselves in the series. Garland finished with 14 points and eight assists in Game 1, while Mobley totaled 16 points and three blocks.

The combination of stars and role players makes the Cavaliers dangerous, and it will take a valiant effort from Orlando to stop them.