There is an NBA adage that a series doesn’t start until one team wins on the other’s home court.
But even though the Warriors “held serve” in Oracle Arena, as one reporter put it in a question to LeBron James, that isn’t a good enough reason for the Cavaliers to find comfort in heading back to Cleveland.
In fact, according to James, the Cavs getting too comfortable returning home for Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday could end up backfiring.
“We want to continue to be uncomfortable,” James said. “Just because we’re going home doesn’t mean we can relax. This is the last team in the world you want to relax against. They’ve proven they can win on someone else’s floor, no matter if it’s through adversity as people may call it, like when they were going through the Rockets series or whatever the case may be. They’ve proven they can win on someone else’s floor and do it in any fashion, in any way.
“I will continue to stay uncomfortable, and I hope our guys continue to stay uncomfortable no matter with us going back home.”
The Warriors, of course, won the first and seventh games of the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets, and came back from a 3-2 series deficit. They are 4-4 on the road this postseason.
And even though the last thing the Cavs can do is get comfortable, it helps to know that Golden State’s field goal percentage drops on the road (49.4 percent to 45.7 percent), as does their three-point percentage (37 percent to 33.7 percent). They average about one more turnover per game on the road (13.8 compared to 12.6 at home), and also have fewer assists (22.9 compared to 28.4).
The Cavaliers have only lost one game at home during the playoffs this year, the first game in their opening round series against Indiana. They shoot better at Quicken Loans Arena both in total field goals (47.7 percent vs. 44.2 percent on the road) and in three-pointer percentage (37 percent vs. 31 percent on the road).
But considering how well-balanced the Warriors are, it’s understandable why there is little to no comfort coming home against them, even though the Cavs know how well they themselves have played at home.
“You know, we’ve got an opportunity to go home, and we played some really good basketball on our home floor,” James said. “But that shouldn’t give us any comfort. We should still be uncomfortable with the series as we were in Game 1 and as we were tonight.”