CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson is a proud native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and longtime friend to and former prep teammate of Raptors guard Cory Joseph, but when it comes to winning in the NBA Playoffs, everything is all about business.
The Cavaliers became the first team in the 2017 NBA Playoffs to clinch a spot in the conference finals when they closed out the four-game sweep of the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 109-102 win in Game 4 at Air Canada Centre Sunday afternoon.
“Straight business,” Thompson said. “It’s all business. That means Cory Joseph can text now. I give them a lot of credit. They competed. They were down, 3-0, and they played with everything they had left. I give a lot of credit for that. Their fans, their coaching staff, their front office, they’re proud of the way their guys competed.
“You’ve always got a winner and loser. He played one hell of a game, and definitely showed what he’s capable of doing for that team, so he left on a good note. I’m happy and pleased for the way he ended his season.”
With the win, 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.
Since LeBron James’ return to the franchise in July of 2014, the Cavaliers have had six sweeps over the first three rounds of the postseason, including three in the first (Boston Celtics in 2015, Detroit Pistons in 2016 and Indiana Pacers in 2017), two in the second round (Atlanta Hawks in 2016 and Raptors in 2017) and once in the Eastern Conference Finals (Hawks in 2015).
“I don’t even sit down and think about it,” Thompson said. “I don’t do that until after the season when we recap the whole playoffs. Right now, we’re kind of in the matrix, and we’re just taking it game by game, but the positive is, we get some rest, especially with a team that’s older. The more rest you can get, the better for us, especially the guys logging a lot of minutes.”
By finishing off the Raptors in just four games, the Cavaliers ensured themselves at least a week of rest before starting the Eastern Conference Finals against either the Celtics on the road or Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I think it’s good for us, getting the rest,” Thompson said. “Coach Lue and the whole staff, they know what we need to do in order to stay in shape. Our conditioning will be ramped up. It’s the good thing about getting the sweep, but then, that conditioning workout is a beast.
“That damn VersaClimber. I’m destroying it, but I hate it. It’s the worst thing in the weight room, but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to stay fresh and get ready for either Boston or Washington.”
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