CLEVELAND -- On Sunday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered their first loss of the 2017 NBA Playoffs to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in front of the home faithful at Quicken Loans Arena.
But by Monday morning, the Cavaliers were on the floor getting back to work as they look to rebound in Game 4 tonight.
“They were good, locked in and understand that we could have been better,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think it started defensively. I thought offensively, we just didn't attack. We didn't play with that same pace and that same power and speed that we've been playing with the first two games. We've got to get back to that."
After making 14 of their first 22 looks from long distance in Game 3, the Cavaliers made just two of their 11 three-point tries in the fourth quarter, both from shooting guard J.R. Smith over the last five-plus minutes of play, and only two of 17 following the halftime break.
Conversely, the Celtics buried five of their 11 three-point tries in the fourth quarter.
“We've got it put it behind us, short-term memory,” Lue said. “They beat us. They played well. Like I said, Marcus Smart made seven threes. He played great. He stepped up.
“Olynyk stepped up and played well, Jerebko. We know what we've got to do. We've talked about it. We've seen it. So now, we've just got to go out and do it. But the loss is behind us, and now, we've got to play better.”
On the heels of a 44-point win over the Celtics in Game 2 at TD Garden, the Cavaliers were looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. However, the Celtics had other plans, as they overcame a 21-point second-half deficit to get the road victory.
Following the loss, Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said adversity would be a good thing for the team, and he was not the only one with that feeling.
“It's natural,” Lue said. “You win 10 in a row and you're feeling good. Same thing happened last year versus Toronto.
“We've got to be better, but there's nothing wrong with being confident and feeling good. We wouldn't be in this position if we weren't confident. We've just got to get back to, like I said, being physical, bringing the physicality and having a defensive mindset. I think that's where it hurt us the most.”
Like Lue and James, shooting guard J.R. Smith knows there is only one way to respond if the Cavaliers are indeed the championship team they want to become.
“You look around this league or around our team and everybody has dealt with adversity at some point, whether in their career or in their life,” Smith said.
“Somebody told me I wasn't going to be here, somebody told 'Bron he wasn't going to be here and somebody told Kyle [Korver] and R.J. [Richard Jefferson] and all that. We went through adversity. We've lost playoff games. We've lost championships. I mean, only way to come back is to come back out swinging.”