It took the Cavaliers a full 7 games to put away the Orlando Magic, a team they tanked to play in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

It required an epic comeback in the second half, but Cleveland managed to put away the pesky Magic for good to the tune of 106-94.

Despite the surprise struggle, the playoff advancement is something the Cavaliers won’t take for granted.

It was the Cav’s first opening round victory since the 2017-2018 season and if you take away LeBron James it was Cleveland’s first series win since:

While not James himself, former Jazz man, Donovan Mitchell was every bit as impactful against the Magic (exceptions being games 3 &4) and did a majority of the heavy lifting:

Outside of Mitchell’s electricity, Cleveland was desperately searching the roster for someone else to make a dent against a surging Magic Team.

It couldn’t be more evident that Mitchell needed a helping hand after Donovan scored 50 points on 61 percent shooting in game six, and the Cavaliers still lost.

In last night’s series clinching win, players like Caris LeVert (15 pts, 5 rebounds) and Max Strus (13 pts, 50 percent from three) lightened the load.

And out of the ash, rose another hero in former Utah State Aggie, Sam Merrill.

Merrill had been made available for spot minutes in the six games prior, and finally got a bit of extended run when the Cavaliers needed another spark.

Sweet shooting Sam would take two deep ball attempts, nailing them both, pull down two boards, record an assist, hit both free throw attempts and avoiding turning the ball over or fouling in his 11 minutes.

Considering Cleveland only hit 8 three pointers on the night, Merrill’s two hits seem like a big deal.

Many have been wanting this all along.

See, Cleveland scored more than 100 points only twice out of those 7 games including yesterdays clincher.

If the offense is struggling, what can it hurt to insert a player like Merrill who plays underrated defense, protects the ball, and makes defense gravitate towards him with his three-point shooting pedigree?

Merrill attempted nearly six threes a game this season and still shot at a 40.4 percent clip from deep.

We know rotations shorten in the postseason, we know you need your best on the floor to win games, but what we’ve seen from the Cavs so far doesn’t seem like their best.

With the dominate, rested Celtics awaiting, Cleveland will undoubtedly have to do something differently than what they did in the Orlando series, and it could be as simple as seeing more Sam.

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