Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently looking to rebound after they suffered back to back brutal blowout losses at the hands of the Orlando Magic in Games 3 and 4 of the first round playoff series between the two teams, sending things back to Cleveland all knotted up at 2-2 ahead of Game 5 on Friday night. The Cavs had no problems racing out to a 2-0 lead over what at that time looked to be a highly inexperienced Orlando team, but once the series shifted cities, Mitchell and his teammates have struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket, and the Cavaliers are now faced with what is essentially a must win game on Tuesday evening, albeit in front of their home fans.

One theme throughout this series has been the fact that the Cavs have looked dominant when center Jarrett Allen has been on the floor, and the complete opposite of that when the big man heads to the bench. One person who has noticed as much is NBA insider Brian Windhorst, who recently took to ESPN Cleveland radio to relay his thoughts on the dilemma.

“They can’t even run competent offense. There are so many different things that are frustrating,” said Windhorst, per ESPN Cleveland on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter. “First off, the best offensive player in the series for the Cavs has been Jarrett Allen. That’s not acceptable. Jarrett Allen is not an offensive player. He is an offensive finisher. It gets set up for him. He is not an offensive first player. It is not acceptable in a playoff series if Jarrett Allen can be your offensive player. When they take Jarrett Allen off the court right now, it’s like taking LeBron off the court in his prime. Their offense, such as it is, collapses. It’s unacceptable.”

A pivotal game 5

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) blocks a shot by Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) in the fourth quarter during game two of the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavs are still looking to win their first playoff series since LeBron James left the squad for the second time back in 2018. That year was supposed to be last year, when the team had a first round series against the New York Knicks with home court advantage intact. Instead, the Cavs immediately fell down 1-0 in that series and melted down under the pressure of playing in Madison Square Garden in Games 3 and 4, being unceremoniously sent home in Game 5 and setting the stage for this season. In that series, both Mitchell and point guard Darius Garland struggled mightily, and some pundits have wondered what the future might hold for Mitchell if Cleveland once again comes up short in the first round this postseason.

If the Cavs are able to break through and defeat Orlando, their prize would (most likely) be a second round date against the Boston Celtics, who finished with the NBA’s best record this year at 64 wins and are currently up three games to one in their first round series vs the Miami Heat.

However, first things first: dispatching of the feisty Magic, who have all of the confidence in the world at the present moment.