Cavaliers Refuse to Celebrate Playoff Spot, Focused on Bigger Goals

NBA – Qualified in the Top 6 of the East after their success on Friday against Indiana, the Cavaliers are not satisfied with it and even refuse to celebrate it.

Intensity, pressure, but no effusion. In Cleveland on Friday, it was rather difficult to know that the Cavaliers had just booked their ticket to the final stages. Their victory against the Pacers in a crucial match for the end of the season, however, guaranteed them to avoid the possible play-in trap. But the Ohio players did not seem to make much of it, already focused on their upcoming deadlines.

« We had our backs against the wall, we knew we had to win this match.” recognizes Max Strus, accustomed to this type of challenge after three seasons in Miami. “ We took this match as a playoff match. If I have to take one thing away from this, it’s that it’s a positive sign for the future and what awaits us in the coming weeks. » Donovan Mitchell goes further, participating in the final stages was ” the bare minimum« .

« This is what we expected. No matter the obstacles in our way, the injuries, the bad times as well as the good periods, the players who play then no longer play… That’s what we are, we are a playoff team. It’s good to be there. But I think we all say ‘well, we did what we were supposed to do’. It’s not a celebration, the city will vibrate as it always does, but for us, it’s the bare minimum. »

“Success for this team would be fighting for a ring”

Once firmly established on the Eastern podium at the start of 2024, Cleveland seemed to have established itself as a serious outsider in the East. But the bad series after the All-Star Game completely disrupted JB Bickerstaff’s squad, to the point of putting it at risk of losing play-in matches. Which is far from enough for the Cavs, looking for a first “postseason” series won since 2018, and even for 31 years without LeBron James in the squad.

« Every year I aim for the title » proclaims Georges Niang. “ Success for me and for this team would be fighting for a ring. We believe in what we have in this franchise and in this locker room. I’m not satisfied with just making the playoffs, I expected no less. Our goal is to pass each round, one by one.


Second place still in the sights

Eliminated last season by the Knicks despite the home advantage in the first round against the Knicks in a one-sided series, Cleveland has at least obtained the certainty of not crossing paths with New York to start the playoffs this time. “ We are hungrier, much more experienced and we have much more to prove » assures Darius Garland. Not guaranteed to be in the Top 6 at kickoff against Indiana, the Cavaliers finally validated the Top 4 at the final buzzer after the Sixers’ victory over the Magic.

They could even move up to second place in the East depending on the last day of the regular season starting at 7 p.m. this Sunday. The Cavaliers face the freewheeling Hornets, while New York hosts Chicago and Milwaukee will have a lot to lose in Orlando. Regardless of their rank or their future opponent, Donovan Mitchell, in renewed form this week, is already planning for the future.

« We have nine days to sort out some things, watch some video, what we do good, bad, neutral. Our away series (1 victory for 4 defeats last week, editor’s note) did not reflect who we are. It’s easy to put our heads down, especially at the end of the season, but we’re in a good position.«

2024-04-14 13:09:05
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