LeBron James is 8-0 in his last two playoff series vs. the Hawks. LeBron James will tell you that means nothing.
“What happened in the past doesn’t define what happens today,” he said from Friday’s practice.
James and the Cavaliers begin the second round of the playoffs Monday vs. the very Hawks of which James speaks. Tipoff for Game 1 is 7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavs swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals last season — despite the Hawks possessing the No. 1 seed and getting the first two games at home.
This year, the Cavs own home-court advantage. Most experts predict another sweep, or the Cavs taking it in maybe five, six at most (see latest dribbles).
The Cavs also won all three regular-season meetings this year. So make it seven straight wins since the 2015 playoffs.
The numbers are clearly on the Cavs’ side. So is the eye test. With James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the rest, the Cavs are just better.
The Hawks do have some talent with the likes of Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. And Kent Bazemore seems to cherish the challenge of defending LeBron.
But in recent seasons, the Hawks have been the Browns to the Cavs’ Steelers.
What does it all mean?
Well, again, nothing. Not if you ask LeBron.
”We’ve got to focus on the now and this is a (Hawks) team that’s coming off a very good and challenging first-round series against the Celtics,” James said. “We understand that their coach (Mike Budenholzer) is going to have those guys well-prepared and well-driven for the series.”
The Hawks bounced the Celtics on Thursday, with the Cavs completing their sweep of the Pistons eight days ago.
So the Cavs appeared fairly relived to finally have a specific opponent on which they can direct their attention.
Just don’t get too caught up in what’s happened against that opponent in the past, James stressed.
”It don’t matter if you can win 100 straight games against somebody,” he said. “If you lose four in a row, then you’re out of the playoffs.
“It doesn’t matter. All the things that happened in the past do not matter to our focus this week.”