June 6, 2018 / 3:10 AM / 6 months ago

James expects team mates to step up in Cleveland

(Reuters) - Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expects his team mates to step up their game when the NBA Finals shift to the Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday, a boost his team will need to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series.

June 3, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) goes for a rebound against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and forward Kevin Durant (35) in game two of the 2018 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/pool photo via USA TODAY Sports

James was sensational in the two losses to Golden State on the road in Oakland but despite scoring 51 points in Game One and having a near triple double in Game Two, he has mostly been a one-man army against the deep and talented Warriors squad.

“I always believe the role players play much better at home than they do on the road,” James told reporters in Cleveland on Tuesday.

“They feed off the crowd. They feed off the familiarity with not only being home but being on their home floor, having their own locker and things of that nature.

“So I think that’s definitely helped us out a lot throughout this post-season thus far. Pretty much in the post-season since I returned a few years ago.”

James has good reason to think the Cavs will be a better when the ball goes up on their home court, where they have only dropped one game this post-season and have at times looked like an entirely different team.

In the Eastern Conference Finals the Cavs won all three of their home games against the Boston Celtics by comfortable margins but were blown out in three of the four games they played at TD Garden.

The Cavaliers stole Game Seven of that series on the road to advance to the Finals, where they are battling the defending champion Warriors for the fourth consecutive year.

While seemingly playing the Warriors by himself in Game One, James saw better production from Kevin Love (22 points) and George Hill (15 points) in Game Two, an upward trend he will hope continues.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the team understands the series will be a short one if they cannot win in Cleveland.

“We’ve got to take care of home,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job of playing here throughout the course of the playoffs. Our fans are great. They’re going to be ready and fired up.

“(The Warriors) took care of their home court. They won two games on their home floor. Now we’ve got to come back and do the same thing.”

Game Four is also in Cleveland on Friday.

Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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