The Cavaliers open their second-round series against the Raptors in Cleveland tonight.
Unfortunately (?) for LeBron James, that game isn’t in Toronto.
LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I just like the adversity of the road,” James said after practice Friday. “Home cooking is great; love the home fans for 14 years. But I love playing out on the road more than I love playing at home. It’s just a weird thing. I love the adversity, I love the ‘Tonight is not the night’ LeBron slogans. I love the ‘You’re overrated’ and all those things. I like all that. I don’t know, man. It’s the bunker mentality of knowing it’s 15 guys plus the coaching staff and whoever there that’s traveled with us against the whole state and the whole city.”
I’m not sure it’s entirely a coincidence LeBron is mentioning this in a year the Celtics, not his Cavs, have the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland drew a lot of criticism for valuing rest over home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs (though, to me, facing the Raptors rather than the Wizards in the second round is the bigger shortcoming of the rest strategy).
Here’s how LeBron’s teams have fared at home and on the road in the regular season and playoffs:
I’m not one to tell LeBron what he should prefer. He might enjoy the challenge of playing on the road, even if he’s less successful. He, of course, won the biggest game of his career on the road — Game 7 of the Finals last year in Golden State.
But his teams, like pretty much everyone’s teams, have played much better at home.