Sometimes, brothers fight. Sometimes, brothers go without speaking for some time.
For Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson, lifelong best friends that have essentially become brothers over the years, are no exception. The two endured seemingly countless battles side by side over the years – as best friends growing up in the Toronto area, as AAU teammates, as a dominant force and roommates at Findlay Prep and throughout their lone season at Texas.
Now each in their fifth NBA season – Joseph in his first with the Toronto Raptors and Thompson having spent his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers – they’ve seen numerous matchups on opposite sides of the court, but never has a trip to the NBA Finals been at stake.
With Joseph’s Raptors and Thompson’s Cavs entering a pivotal Game 5 to take control and the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s understandable why they’ve ceased all communication.
"I'm not calling him, texting him, nothing. It's playoff time," Thompson told cleveland.com. "Right now, it's about my guys. We're at war with them. It's nothing to talk about. He's my brother, but we're at war."
Joseph echoed Thompson’s sentiments, saying, "I talked to him last series. There's no reason to talk to him right now. I don't have anything to tell him right now."
If their brotherly love hadn’t been well-known dating back to their teenage years, you’d have no idea they’d ever been friends, evident in a Game 3 skirmish that resulted in double technical on Joseph and Thompson:
But that’s just part of being a brother and Joseph is well aware of that with a ticket to the Finals to be punched during the next three games, per Cleveland.com:
"You don't see eye-to-eye with your brother every game or every day when you're out there fighting. It's competitive, we're competitive players," Joseph said. "If he gives me a little shot, I expect him to do that, but he'd better believe I'm going to do it right back. That's it. It's love at the end of the day, but we're both playing on different teams and we want to win. We're competitive people."
Joseph is averaging 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Raptors throughout the series and has been an evident in Toronto’s success. Thompson, on the other hand, has had his hands full with Bismack Biyambo, averaging 4.3 points, nine rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 28 minutes per game.