CLEVELAND -- Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 4 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre eight days ago, All-Star power forward Kevin Love said that despite back-to-back sweeps, the team had another level it could reach.
And after a few days of practice while waiting for the conclusion of the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards series, coach Tyronn Lue agrees that the Cavaliers can elevate their level of play.
“We definitely can get better,” Lue said. “We know that, and that’s why we’re just taking these days to continue to fine tune, continue to get better and work on things we need to get better at. They’re absolutely right, and that’s why we have these days to keep getting better. We understand that. We know that, and we’ve just got to keep doing it.”
The four-game sweep of the Raptors followed up a four-game run through a Central Division foe in the Indiana Pacers.
With the two series wins, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to record back-to-back four-game sweeps over the first two rounds of the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Cavaliers have won 11 straight postseason games dating back to Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals at the Golden State Warriors.
By virtue of the sweep, the Cavaliers are in the middle of their second extended break from games of the postseason, but that 10 day hiatus is being put to good use, just as it was last year when Cleveland won its first-ever NBA Championship after having 20-plus days in-between their series.
“Just having a balance,” Lue said. “Make sure we get in our cardio, make sure we keep that up, but also, making sure that we’re getting our shots up, staying sharp, continue to work on our defensive foundation of what we’re trying to do, and that’s basically it.”
As they have done in the past, the Cavaliers have used the days off for conditioning purposes, utilizing the VersaClimber machine while working out to the music of a live DJ because as the old adage goes, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
“It’s been working the last couple years, so we’re sticking to it,” Lue said. “With the DJ, it just gives them a different look, gives guys motivation to work out to the music, and it’s something different. They enjoy it. I enjoy it a little bit, but it’s just something different. They work harder when the music’s on. It’s worked the last couple of years for us, so we just continue to do it.”