It's time for us to play our best

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Tamika Catchings, boxing out Chicago's Swin Cash, says the defending-champion Fever will have to hit the boards to beat the Sky in their first-round playoff series.

It's playoff time, and now is when any team needs to begin making its push for a championship.

I think our season is really split into thirds. You have the first half leading into the All-Star break. Then you have the second half building up to the playoffs. Now, you have a third season.

Our team has had a lot of adversity and transition this season, and there were a lot of people who counted us out. I even saw some WNBA commercials recently that were showing clips from all the other teams and never showed a clip from the Indiana Fever. I stopped and said to myself, "Wait a minute!" At the end of the next commercial, they showed us getting the trophy last year, but I felt like we weren't even being considered to win again.

It's a clean slate for everyone now. It's 0-0 across the board. Now that we have made the playoffs, we don't want to relax. We need to make our push now -- defend our championship. Our energy is really high, and everyone is excited about the competition.

We don't even care where we are seeded. Honestly, we never looked at 1 through 4. Our mentality was just to continue to get better all season and make the playoffs. We knew that once we made it, it doesn't matter what seed we are, because we all have to play. There are just two short series to get to the WNBA Finals, and anything can happen in three games.

I look at the playoffs as an opportunity for the Fever. I don't think we have anything to prove to anyone, but we have a chance to see, still, just how good this team can be. I don't think anyone has seen us at our best.

For the Fever, it all starts with defense. Our team is known for its tenacity. We have a comfort playing with each other, and we know that if somebody gets beat on the wing, the post is there to back her up.

You've seen us coming together in glimpses again this year, but nobody's seen it for 40 minutes like we put together last year in the playoffs. Every single game last year, it was constant. If one person got beat, the next person had her back. I feel like we are getting back to that.

We have a lot of players who have gained great confidence, and we got back Katie Douglas, who is such a big offensive threat and just a threat by her presence alone. Our confidence is up, and now is the time to be playing our best.

I think Chicago is a great team. People might say, "Ahh, you got their number," but that's really a great team. Swin Cash is a great leader, and Elena Delle Donne plays with such poise for a rookie. Then, of course‎, you can't count out Epiphanny Prince, who's able to create any shot she wants, and Sylvia Fowles -- the beast down low. The Sky have a solid cast with a great coach in Pokey Chatman.

To defend our championship, we have to come out rebounding every single game. We have to do a better job of that. Taking care of the ball is important, and we have to play Fever defense the way we know how to play it.