Cavs' sweep not a celebration, just another step in humble title quest
ATLANTA -- The Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by pulling out another gutty road win and extending their playoff win streak to eight games. Right?
"We have nothing to celebrate. What is there to celebrate? We have bigger goals than this. We won a game and we're moving on. That's about it," said center
"It is not a celebration because this is not home for us. This is not where we want to be," he said. "Home for us is holding up that ball (the NBA championship trophy). That is when our celebration starts. That is all that we think about."
Such is life with the favorites to win the NBA crown and end the city of Cleveland's championship drought. Eight straight wins, all by double-digits, and it is met with a collective shrug of the shoulders. Things are going so well for the Cavs right now, they can have almost twice as many turnovers as their opponents, miss 12 free throws and still stick a road 'W' in their suitcases and head back to Cleveland.
"We ought to feel good about this win, because we got it in an ugly manner," said Cavs coach
The possession that officially clinched the Cavaliers' four-game sweep took a remarkable 64 seconds. Leading by five with 1:56 to play, the Cavs milked the clock before James drove to the hoop and missed a layup.
James did not dominate as he did in Game 3, but he still managed 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
If the Hawks were able to knock down a few more open jumpers, their season would not be over. They shot 32 percent for the game, including a woeful 2-for-13 from three-point range.
"The effort was definitely there tonight," Johnson said. "They got a lot of loose balls, a lot of hustle plays that they beat us to. If I know my guys, I think this will leave a sour taste in our mouths all summer."
"Why should we celebrate?" James said. "We are a team that is fighting for a championship. Advancing is advancing, whether it is four games or seven. We're not taking it for granted. We're excited we're playing great basketball. But we are not satisfied."
With 10 minutes to play, the Hawks trailed 64-62 and allowed just two points in the next 3:30. Unfortunately for them, they came up empty at the offensive end on seven straight possessions, missing a golden opportunity to seize control from the temporarily out-of-sync Cavs. A James three snapped Cleveland from its funk and the Hawks were never closer than four again.
The Cavs outscored the Hawks 11-2 to start the second quarter when James took his only rest of the game.
As he did prior to Game 3, James tossed in an underhand shot from the intersection of midcourt and the sideline during warmups. It took him seven attempts on Monday, four more than Saturday. ... The jumbotron tried to draw inspiration for the Hawks from other notable underdogs such as the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, Appalachian State and the New York Giants.
Cleveland will enjoy another mid-playoff vacation, as it waits for the Eastern Conference finals (starting as early as Sunday) against the Boston-Orlando survivor (series tied at 2). Will the layoff hurt? It certainly did not seem to affect the Cavs against the Hawks after they sat idle for nine days before the series. For the Hawks, it's time to reflect on a season where they improved their wins by 10 and advanced a round further in the playoffs. "I told those guys in the locker room I don't want them hanging their heads," said Hawks coach