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Takeaways from Cleveland Cavaliers’ 106-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets

The Cavs end the regular season with a rare loss at home.

Charlotte Hornets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers, resting Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, finished up the regular season with a 106-95 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The loss is just the Cavs’ tenth at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse this season.

Sam Merrill minutes

The Cavs might have something in Sam Merrill. The 2020 second-round pick had 17 points on 6-12 shooting, four rebounds, and added three steals. With a roster that is largely void of bench shooting, Merrill will have an opportunity for more rotation minutes next season.

Merrill could be slated to take Dylan Windler’s spot on the Cavs’ roster next season, providing the shooting the Cavs desperately need off the bench. The Cavs will need to get creative with the roster, given Garland’s extension kicking in and Evan Mobley due for one as well.

Playoff Danny Green

Like in the Cavs’ previous game against the Orlando Magic, Danny Green appeared ready to contribute in the playoffs. The NBA champion and savvy veteran shooter produced another quality game off the bench with 13 points on 5-12 shooting, along with four rebounds and a block.

For a newly-minted playoff team fresh with first-time postseason players, having a veteran like Green to rely on in crunch time could prove invaluable. After riding the bench for most of the season, Green has shown in the last two games that he could be called on to contribute in a high-intensity playoff setting.

Playoff Basketball

After one of the most impressive regular seasons in franchise history, the Cavs will turn their attention to the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. The Knicks have caused the Cavaliers some problems this season, but Cleveland is well-equipped to handle New York’s slow, methodical offense and relentless play.

Having some time to rest will help dramatically, especially for Isaac Okoro. The Cavs will need him as the primary defender against Jalen Brunson, who wreaked havoc on Cleveland’s defense last time out. Mitchell and Garland, the twin-motor engine to the Cavs’ offense, will have plenty of time off. But Okoro is a sneakily-important player against the Knicks. He has been maligned by the fans during his time in Cleveland, but he could be a pivotal player in stopping New York’s best player.