LeBron James: Cavs need ‘urgency from the start’ in Game 6
LeBron James insists the Cleveland Cavaliers have to come out with a sense of urgency on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals if the team hopes to have a different outcome than how the first two games played out in the Toronto Raptors’ home arena.
The Raptors fed off the frenzied environment created by the incredibly loud crowd in two home-court victories to stake early leads, a 15-point halftime lead in Game 3 and a 16-point lead at the half in Game 4.
James’ comments following Friday morning’s shootaround makes it clear that he recognizes the Cavaliers have to match the Raptors intensity from the get-go and simply weather the storm.
“Urgency from the start, all the way to the end,” James said, via cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
The contrast between how the Cavaliers have played at home and on the road during the Eastern Conference Finals couldn’t be more stark in many respects. At home, the Cavs have won all three games — two in which the team broke franchise records for margins of victory in a postseason game — while outscoring the Raptors by a whopping 88 points.
On the road at Air Canada Centre, however, things obviously have not gone as well. The Raptors, playing much better on their home court — which arguably only tells half the story — have more than held their own, which should give them confidence they can rebound from the throttling they took in Game 5.
James’ comments concerning a need for a sense of urgency echoed what Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue had to say about Game 6 when he suggested the team should view Friday’s potentially series-clinching showdown as a Game 7.
Lue on Friday spoke specifically about what the team expects out of James in Game 6.
” I think he has to be very assertive,” he said. “I think he has to set the tone early offensively and defensively, pushing the basketball. But we’re going to need the whole team, and he understands that. But I think LeBron knows and understands that he has to set the tone early, and everybody else will follow.”
James is in the hunt for a 25th consecutive playoff series in which his team has recorded a road win. While the Cavaliers obviously can still punch their ticket to the NBA Finals at home on Sunday even if they lose on Friday night, eliminating the possibility of the Raptors stealing a road win is the easiest and preferable course of action.