Cavs' Donovan Mitchell vows to 'be great' in Game 5 vs. Magic

Donovan Mitchell scored 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting in Cleveland's Game 4 loss at Orlando.

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Independence (AP) – Donovan Mitchell pauses while answering a question to adjust the wireless microphone attached to the front of his wine-colored practice jersey. The All-Star guard wanted to make sure everyone could hear.

He joked that his mom wanted him to speak louder.

Mitchell needs to raise his voice — and his game. He has been very quiet lately.

As the Cavaliers prepare for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night (8 ET, NBA TV) may be important in ways that go beyond the conclusion of this seven-best series, Mitchell clarified He knew he had more to do.

„It starts with me,” he said.

Although the series was even, it was anything but for Mitchell.

He He scored 30 and 23 points, respectively, in Games 1 and 2 as the Cavs opened up 2-0 leads with home wins. But in Orlando, Mitchell wasn't the same and neither were the Cavs lost in Central Florida.

Mitchell scored just 13 points in Game 3 as the Cavs lost 121–83 – the worst playoff loss in their history. He got off to a great start in Game 4, pacing the tempo and scoring 18 in the first half as Cleveland built a nine-point lead.

He looked determined. At half time it disappeared.

Mitchell, slowed by a troublesome left knee, went scoreless in the second half while attempting just four shots, and the Cavs were outscored 37-10 in the third quarter as the Magic won 112-89.

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After two days of investigating what went wrong, Mitchell said the solution was simple.

„I can't take four shots in that half,” he said. “I said after Game 1, this is who I am. Fourteen shots and 16 shots in consecutive games – right, wrong or indifferent – ​​speaks volumes for the aggression. I'm not like that.

„So I'll take responsibility for that and I'll be fine.”

Since Game 1, Mitchell is averaging 18 points on 20-52 shooting (38%). He has 20 assists, 15 turnovers and is being hounded by Orlando guard Jalen Suggs.

Mitchell dismissed any suggestion that his knee was an issue. But it is clear that he is not himself.

Except as a starter, he lacks typical acceleration. That signature crossover, step-back 3-pointer — a move he springs on to break away in big moments — is missing, and he seems to be trying to save himself.

„I am fine,” he said when asked about his health.

But is he 100 percent?

„I'm fine,” he said.

The Cavs may need better than Mitchell moving forward, and it's not a given that he can rise to that level.

Mitchell played in 11 of 29 games after the All-Star break — he also had surgery on a broken nose — because of a knee he stepped on Magic forward Paolo Panchero's leg early in Game 3.

There was no time for rest or overreaction, which is why Mitchell remained calm.

„The biggest thing is to be consistent throughout the process,” he said. „The last two games haven't been what we wanted, but we have a chance to take care of business at home and that's the only mentality.”

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for now.

In no time, the conversation around Mitchell will shift from the next game to the next season and beyond. He's eligible to sign a contract extension with Cleveland this summer, and his future could be tied to how the Cavs finish this spring after getting blown out in the first round a year ago.

That's for another day, and why Mitchell should return to the Cavs.

Happened in Orlando, will stay in Orlando.

„Give them credit. Give us credit,'' he said. „We did what we had to do. So now can we do it again? We will. That's where we are. Otherwise, we're going home, and we don't want that to happen.

„Handle business on Tuesday and everything else will go from there.”

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