USA Today Sports

Cavs 'Road Warrior' mentality in close out game

The Cavaliers have won the deciding game of their playoff series on the road in the last six series

CLEVELAND--The Cavaliers are hoping to make it seven-straight.

While the Cavaliers had a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference Finals in the two games at home, they will have a chance to close out the Celtics in Boston Thursday night. If they do, it will be the seventh-straight time they have won the deciding game of a playoff series on the road in the last two seasons. They have won the deciding game of their playoff series on the road in the last six series. 

LeBron James said although the Cavs have been successful doing so, but it isn't easy.

"The close-out game is always the hardest,” James said. “And also you’re (on the road), and Boston is going to make it even harder. We have to go in with a bunker mentality that we had in Game 1 and Game 2 to go out and do what we do, but we have to defend.

“We have to execute offensively," he said. "We have to have low turnovers, and we have to try to make them miss, because some of those guys play a lot better at home. That’s just how the game is played. We’ll play the game and we’ll see what happens.”

The Cavaliers have been a different team in the playoffs as opposed to the regular season, when it comes to playing on the road. In the 2016-17 regular season, the Cavs were just 20-21 in road games and 31-10 at home. So far, they are 6-0 in road games in the playoffs away from Quicken Loans Arena. 

In the last two years, the Cavaliers have won the deciding game of their playoff series on their opponents home court. In their NBA title run in 2016, the Cavs won Game 4 in Detroit and then won Game 4 in Atlanta, both ending in sweeps. They clinched the Eastern Conference Finals title in Toronto in Game 6.

Then, we all know what happened in Game 7 at Golden State as the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA championship.

 Dating back to 2015, the Cavs won eight series' final game on the road. 

So far in 2017, the Cavs closed out the Pacers in Game 4 in Indianapolis and then did the same thing to the Raptors in Toronto.

The Cavaliers were on the road in Boston for the first two games before playing splitting Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland.  

Regardless, of who the Cavaliers play in the NBA Finals--if they make it that far--they will not have home court advantage with either Golden State or San Antonio.

If you take it back to 2015, the Cavaliers closed out the Celtics in a first-round sweep in Boston before defeating the Bulls in Chicago in Game 6. The only time they won the playoff series clinching game was when they defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 118-88 on May 26, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena to complete a 4-0 sweep. That year, the Hawks had the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and it mattered little as the Cavs won the first two games in Atlanta before closing out the series in Cleveland. 


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