The Cleveland Cavaliers may have failed to put up a good fight against the New York Knicks during the 2023 NBA playoffs, but Darius Garland vows that it won’t happen again. Not with the Cavs gaining some much-needed postseason experience after years of struggles.
Cleveland made it to the postseason in 2022-23, marking the first time since 1998 that the franchise reached the playoffs without LeBron James. While it’s all good and memorable, the Cavs’ lack of experience was in full display come the playoffs. The Knicks easily handled them in the first round, needing just five games to send the fourth-seeded team packing.
Of course it’s a painful loss for Garland and the Cavs, one which took some time before the All-Star guard could move on from. On a positive note, however, Garland sees the team only improving and elevating their game after such brutal loss.
“But now we’ve seen the playoffs. For a lot of guys, it was our first time in the playoffs, so just getting that playoff experience made us better I think and made us hungrier. Even though we had a good year, I think we can trend up another notch this year and see what’s to come,” Garland explained, via Cleveland.com.
Of course it still won’t be easy for the Cavs. Darius Garland also pointed out that they need to put in a lot of work to make sure they can compete at the highest level not only in the regular season, but also in the playoffs. That is why he and the rest of Cleveland are focusing on strengthening and conditioning to be able to keep up with the physicality of postseason basketball.
“We have to be more physical. I think their physicality took a toll on us in that series. They [Knicks] beat us up. We now know how physical the game is in the playoffs and we know how fast the pace is and every possession matters. Just taking little bits and pieces of that series and trying to put it together for the regular season and then also carry that into the playoffs,” Garland added.
The Cavs have a huge challenge that awaits them in 2023-24 as they look to improve from their 2022-23 run. The good thing is Garland and co. are well aware of the issues they need to address to really take that next step in their development.
Here’s to hoping that we can see the Cavs’ improvements right when the new season begins.