The Cleveland Cavaliers are onto the playoffs! After weeks of dangerously hovering over the Play-In Tournament, they are finally out of the woods. A solid wire-to-wire win over the Indiana Pacers guaranteed that the Cavs would finish in at least fourth place, at the very least. A big game from Donovan Mitchell and a clutch performance from Darius Garland got them the win.

After the game, the Cavs’ star duo commented on the win and their return to the playoffs to Bally Sports Cleveland. For Garland, the win means getting a shot at redemption. After a disappointing playoff debut, the guard wants to prove that this team has been better. (videos from Bally Sports Cleveland)

“I’ve been waiting on it for a long time, since last year actually, so it’s good to finally be back there,” Garland said. We’re a lot hungrier, a lot more experienced, and we have a lot more to show, so I’m super excited about the postseason.”

As for Mitchell, the star guard is looking forward to the Cavs’ upcoming matchup.

“Now we got to handle business Sunday and get ready for whoever we’ve got to play.”

The Cavs’ last trip to the playoffs was a bit of a disaster. At one point, they were the darlings of the NBA, the plucky underdogs of the league. They made the playoffs last season after trading for Mitchell, but lost in shocking fashion to the New York Knicks in the first round.

Now, the Cavs are fueled by their desire to prove that they are more than their first playoff appearance. This team is determined to show their worth.

Cavs’ troublesome season

This season has been a much, much harder year for Cleveland than they first anticipated. Mitchell has played in just 55 games this season due to a litany of injuries, mostly in the second half of the season. Garland, on the other hand, saw his performance regress after an excellent All-Star level season.

It wasn’t just the guards that started to struggle, too. Evan Mobley is one of the best defensive bigs in the entire league. His defense kept the Cavs alive in multiple instances. However, his offensive performance has severely dipped. It’s to the point that one could argue that he’s a negative.

All those factors contributed to the team’s late-season slump. Their once strong hold on their spot in the East slowly started to crumble. If not for the Milwaukee Bucks’ collapse, more people would likely be talking about the Cavs’ struggles. Thankfully, they built a solid cushion for themselves and won the important games. They will now be advancing to the playoffs with a guaranteed home playoff series.

With Mitchell’s Cavs future still in limbo, this season might be the team’s best chance at making a deep playoff run. It’s not going to be easy, especially with the many elite teams in the East. Still, if Mitchell can tap into his elite playoff runs from his Utah Jazz days and if Garland can start to be consistently elite… hey, anything can happen in the playoffs, right?