CLEVELAND -- Just as they did a season ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers have swept their way through the first two rounds of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
The Cavaliers kept things simple as they earned four-game sweeps over the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors on the way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight season, and that is the same approach the team is taking during a layoff as they await the winner of the semifinal series between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.
“At the end of the day, I think if we worry about the task at hand, just worry about it game by game and we take care of business and do what we have to do each game, the success comes,” center Tristan Thompson said.
“The championship, it comes if you take care of what you have to do at practice, at shoot-around day by day, guys getting treatment, guys taking care of their bodies, all those little things help down the road when you go through a little adversity like we did. We’ve got the same mentality as we did last year, just go out and do our jobs and play.”
The Cavaliers struggled through the final six weeks of the regular season, especially in March, where 12 of their 17 games away from Quicken Loans Arena. And yet, they maintained a level of confidence that proved fruitful in getting Cavaliers back to the third round of the postseason.
“At the end of the day, we know the opponent is the playoffs,” Thompson said. “We know every game counts, so guys punch in the clock and know that one missed screen or that one rebound that we don’t get can cost us a game.
“I think guys just kind of turned the switch on understanding the opponents, and I think it starts with our coaches coming in, making sure we’re locked in, going over the same plays over and over again because those repetitions and us ingraining the other team’s defense and their schemes, that’s what helps in the long run."
Even with a potential trilogy matchup against the Golden State Warriors still possible after both organizations swept through the first two rounds of the postseason, the Cavaliers are laser-focused on what needs to be done to make it to the NBA Finals.
“We’re not even looking at the Warriors,” Thompson said. “We’re looking at Boston and Washington, and before that, it was Toronto. The most important team we’ve got to take care of and play against is the team in front of us.
“We can’t look past any other team. Everyone is capable of beating anyone on any night, especially right now. These are all good teams. We’ve lost to Boston and Washington this year, so these teams are not a cake walk. Everyone’s respected. Everyone knows every team’s talented, so we’re just looking at it one step at a time. We’re not looking past anyone.”