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LeBron James.

The last time the Cavaliers lost to an Eastern Conference team at home in the playoffs

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LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the absolute class of the Eastern Conference, eliminating any doubt after coming back from down 3-1 in the NBA Finals last year. 

The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are widely considered the only teams that can stop LeBron James from capturing championships with Cleveland, and that's for good reason. The Cavaliers have crushed any Eastern Conference rival in their path. 

Several NBA players downplay the importance of home court advantage in the playoffs, but there's no doubt that Cleveland loves taking care of business at home against their Eastern counterparts. They hardly ever lose on their own court. 

The Cavaliers dominated in the postseason last year, sweeping their first two opponents. Their only Eastern Conference losses came on the road, across the border in Toronto.

You'd have to go back to 2015 to find an Eastern Conference team that walked out of Cleveland with a playoff victory. The Chicago Bulls were the last to do it, and that's not a great sign for the Toronto Raptors who find themselves down 1-0 already. 

How did the Cavaliers look back then? Let's take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on the 2014-2015 Cleveland squad. The dawn of a new era for LeBron and the Cavaliers. 

LeBron James

What's there to say that hasn't been said about LeBron? James' homecoming has been incredibly successful, essentially the opposite of what happened when he took his talents to South Beach. LeBron was a maniac in the playoffs, turning into a machine by the end of it all.

He nearly defeated the Warriors on his own. Let's not forget that both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were sidelined with injuries in the postseason. King James averaged an astonishing 35.8 points, 8.8 assists and 13.3 rebounds in the NBA Finals without them. 

Sure, he came up without a title, but his incredible performance was downright legendary.

Kyrie Irving

Next up we have Kyrie, who suffered a fractured kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Irving had spent years being a phenomenal point guard on an atrocious team, but LeBron's arrival changed everything for the young superstar. 

Irving's body may have betrayed him in 2015, but he clearly made up for it in 2016. His three-pointer in the final moments of Game 7 helped deliver LeBron his third title and the Cavaliers' first. 

Kevin Love

Love was in a similar place as Kyrie as he spent year after year watching the playoffs from home. Finally opportunity struck, and LeBron was ready to bring him on board to round out a brand new Big Three in Cleveland at the cost of Andrew Wiggins.

Love wasn't an immediate smash-success for Cleveland, though, averaging just 16 points per game and 9.7 rebounds in his first season with King James. He would play in just four playoff games, suffering a shoulder injury because of Kelly Olynyk.

It was a dirty play that left Cleveland reeling going forward. Love was out when the Cavaliers lost their only home playoff game to an Eastern Conference opponent since LeBron's return. 

Timofey Mozgov

There's always a place in the NBA for giant centers who can impede opponents at the rim. That's what the Cavaliers had in Mozgov, though the 2015 playoffs may have been the last time Mozgov was truly effective

He would undergo a knee procedure following their NBA Finals loss that he never quite recovered from. Timofey's lateral quickness disappeared in the blink of an eye. He's currently on the Los Angeles Lakers, performing so poorly he was benched through much of the season.

Iman Shumpert

Shumpert was delivered from basketball hot garbage with the New York Knicks to the promised lands of hoops when the Cavaliers acquired both he and JR Smith. Iman was considered the Knicks' only prized young piece at the time, but a shoulder injury left him on the outs.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Four

The Knicks' loss was the Cavaliers gain, and Iman remains with Cleveland and earned a title since being dished by New York. 

JR Smith

Smith, too, was out in the Cavaliers' home loss to the Bulls. That Game 4 against Boston was a doozy for Cleveland, who not only lost Love to injury for the rest of the playoffs, but Smith to a two-game suspension later on. 

Smith swung out and struck Jae Crowder in the face while boxing him out, leading to the suspension. 

Tristan Thompson

He may be the unsung hero of the Cavaliers. Thompson doesn't get a lot of love because much of what he does is under the radar. He grabs boards. He plays within himself. He doesn't demand touches. 

Perhaps that's an easy thing to do when all you have to do is put your faith into LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin. 

Mike Miller and Shawn Marion

This duo of veterans were in their final days in the NBA. Marion would go on to retire, struggling to be the difference maker he once was. Miller has played minimally since, appearing in just 20 games this season for the Denver Nuggets. 

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Every "Big Three" styled team has a few veterans chasing rings, and these were the Cavaliers'. Two great NBA talents that were too old to make a difference. 

Matthew Dellavedova

The NBA Playoffs were a bit of a coming-out party for Dellavedova, who doesn't have great stats but has plenty of heart behind his play. He's with the Bucks now, continuing his work as either a scrappy player or dirty player, depending how you feel about the way he lays it all out.

Joe Harris

Kendrick Perkins

The Cavaliers would go on to beat the Bulls and haven't lost a playoff game at home since. Amazing, truly.

Topics:
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Chicago Bulls
Kevin Love
LeBron James
Jimmy Butler

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