3 things the Cavaliers took advantage of in their Game One win vs. Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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83. 38. Cavs Magic Game 1 2024. 97. 156. Final

Talk about making a statement. The Cleveland Cavaliers preached about throwing the first punch, learning from their loss to the New York Knicks last season, and being better prepared for this postseason run. Thankfully, they proved it in their wire-to-wire Game 1 victory against the Orlando Magic.

The Cavs hounded the Magic on both ends of the floor, specifically defensively, holding Orlando to 83 points on 33-percent shooting from the field. Cleveland did a great job leaning into the defense-first mentality that they have been building for the last few seasons.

There were a lot of reasons for a successful first game of the postseason, but a few key things stood out. Here are three things the Cavs took advantage of in their game one victory.

1. Cleveland's frontcourt took control

Plenty of questions have been raised about the fit between Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, especially after their flaws were exposed against the Knicks last season, causing Cleveland’s offense to struggle. Even this season when they were on the court together, the offense often felt clunky. Still, the Cavs would not have won Game One against Orlando without them.

Mobley and Allen combined for 32 points and 29 rebounds in the victory. They stifled the Magic at the rim, playing a pivotal part in Orlando shooting 33 percent from the field. Mobley individually defended Paolo Banchero, holding him to 0-for-4 shooting and two turnovers when he was the primary defender.

Mobley offensively was huge, as well. He completely wrecked Orlando’s game plan early: to sag off him and get him to shoot jump shots. He hit his first two three-pointers, causing them to switch their initial game plan. If Mobley continues to stretch the floor throughout this series, it could change everything for the Cavs’ offense.

As for Allen, the lights no longer looked bright for him. He was assertive and aggressive on the glass and he played with so much force on offense. He didn’t go up for soft layups with touch, he was dunking the ball every time he got the chance. It was the kind of performance the Cavs will need from Allen going forward.