Donovan Mitchell says the Cavaliers believe they can make a deep playoff run this season, as he tells Chris Mannix of SI.com.
“You got to get there and see it,” Mitchell said. “We’ve put the work in. It’s tough going from the hunter last year to the hunted. But you see the progression. That tells you the mindset is there. That tells you this team believes.”
Mannix notes that there are signs Cleveland should be viewed as a contender — the team is first in net rating, second in defense, and Mitchell is having a career year and is surrounded by talented young players. However, only Mitchell and Jarrett Allen have postseason experience among the starters, and inexperienced teams rarely advance far in an initial playoff run.
Here’s more from the Central:
- Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman has been in and out of the rotation in recent weeks, but he provided a major spark on Tuesday with Mitchell out, finishing with 24 points and six three-pointers in the victory over Charlotte. He admits the inconsistent playing time has been a challenge, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link). “It’s tough. It’s not easy,” Osman said. “I feel like when you don’t play and then you do play, sometimes you’re trying to do more than you would normally do because you’re trying to stay in the game, you’re trying to show you deserve to be out there and that’s what is best for the team. I’ve learned how to deal with that throughout the season. I would say it’s going better for me now.”
- Joe Ingles signed with the Bucks for the taxpayer mid-level exception last offseason, which was a risk by Milwaukee considering he was coming off a torn ACL suffered in February 2022. The veteran forward showed his worth at the end of Tuesday’s victory over Phoenix, with point guard Jrue Holiday calling on Ingles to handle the play-making duties. As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run once Ingles started running the show. “He just gives us a presence in the locker room, practices,” Budenholzer said of Ingles. “As a coach, you have to figure out how to best put him in his spots and the spacing around it and the players, they gotta keep developing that chemistry, so it’s still growing. I wish you could just snap your fingers and have it immediately, but that’s just not how basketball works, but he’s been invaluable to us, especially recently.”
- Bulls head coach Billy Donovan says Alex Caruso has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter links). The defensive stalwart had previously been listed as questionable with an illness. The Bulls are competing for a spot in the play-in tournament, so Caruso will certainly be missed versus the Kings.
- Pistons guard Jaden Ivey, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols last Friday, is listed as probable for Thursday’s matchup with Denver, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. The No. 5 overall pick of last June’s draft, Ivey is averaging 15.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 4.9 APG on .415/.331/.732 shooting through 62 games (30.2 MPG) as a rookie.