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Donovan Mitchell, Cavs end season in disappointment after G5 loss vs Knicks

Donovan Mitchell can only get disappointed as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers took an early exit in this year’s NBA Playoffs.

“We did a lot of special things this year, but for it to end this way. … I’m proud of every one of those guys in this locker room, our coaching staff and everybody,” said Mitchell.

“They outplayed us. Got to give credit when credit is due.”

The Cavaliers were knocked off by the New York Knicks in Game 5, crumbling in front of the jam-packed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd via 106-95 defeat on Wednesday. 

The agony of defeat crippled Mitchell, as Cleveland failed to deliver from the initial hype and expectations upon landing the All-Star guard in a major trade last year with the Utah Jazz.

“For me personally, I didn’t feel like I was the player that I needed to be for this group. That’s what is going to keep me up at night,” Mitchell said. “I’ve done it all year, I just didn’t deliver like I’m expecting myself to, my teammates, and everybody expects me to.

“Like I said, I take that upon myself and I gotta be better. I got to be better. … I got to be better for my guys.”

Expected to perform greatly in his first playoff trip with the Cavaliers, the lead man in Mitchell failed to capitalize on the golden opportunity when it mattered the most. He served as the primary victim of the Knicks’ suffocating defense in the five total games of the series, averaging just 23.2 points in a horrible 43.2 percent shooting with 3.4 turnovers.

This Wednesday, albeit he willed Cleveland with his 28 points on a losing effort, he shot inconsistently with an 11-of-26 shooting performance.

The inexperienced Cavaliers were left clueless for the entirety of the series as the Knicks completely maneuvered to grab all of the momenta since they forced the split in the first two games of the matchup.

“Everybody’s hurting,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We talked about it a lot this season, how valuable these experiences are and these learning lessons are. These are things that you can’t experience unless you go through it.

“I’m not disappointed in these guys at all. We’re frustrated that we’re in this spot and that we lost and our season is over, but I think our guys gave us what they had and you cannot manufacture these experiences. It is a miserable part of our business, but you have to fail in order to be successful. You go out and try to ensure that it never happens again. And that’s where the great teams are born. We have a special group, but it takes these, and it sucks, but it takes these.”

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