CLEVELAND - During a timeout in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s easy win over Washington, LeBron James and a few of his teammates cut loose.
As the arena’s booming sound system pumped “Poison,” a 1990 pop hit by R&B boy band Bell Biv DeVoe, James did his karaoke rendition of the song and busted a few moves as guards Mo Williams and Delonte West playfully danced near Cleveland’s bench.
They were acting foolish — and didn’t seem to care one bit.
In the comfort of home, the Cavaliers feel like they can do anything.
With a 38-1 record at home, the Cavs, who have spent this season breaking almost every franchise record on the books, are approaching a hallowed league mark. If they win their final two games in Cleveland, they will match the NBA’s best all-time home record set by the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.
“It’s ridiculous,” veteran forward Joe Smith said of Cleveland’s home success. “We actually don’t talk about it in the locker room, but whenever we step on the floor and that record is announced before the game, it kind of sends chills through your body.”
Here’s another reason to shiver: The Celtics will visit on Sunday.
Cleveland’s only home loss came Feb. 8, a 101-91 setback to the Los Angeles Lakers, who stopped the Cavs’ home winning streak at 23. Since then, they’ve reeled off 15 in a row at Quicken Loans Arena, becoming the first team in league history to have two 15-game home winning streaks in the same season.
There have been a few close calls along the way, most recently a four-point win over Orlando and a five-pointer in overtime against Portland.
But, other than the Lakers, no one has topped them.
“Somehow we’ve found a way to win, especially lately,” said center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the team’s elder statesman who can appreciate Cleveland’s home dominance after playing on a 2002-03 Cavs team that went just 14-27 at home. “We don’t think any differently than we do on the road. We just come out, prepare and play. There really hasn’t been anything special that we’ve been doing.”
“What we’ve been able to do at home is unbelievable,” James said. “It’s something we can talk about way after we’re done playing. We’ve held serve at home.”
Beginning with the over-the-top pregame ceremony, which features fire spewing from four swords in the giant scoreboard to the nonstop, pulsating music played during action, Cleveland has become one of the league’s most hostile environments for visitors.
Add in championship-starved fans, who fear James’ days wearing wine and gold could be numbered, and the Cavs may have the best home atmosphere around.
Duke’s Cameron Crazies would love the Q.
Smith, whose NBA career has taken him from Golden State to Philadelphia to Minnesota to Detroit back to Minnesota to Milwaukee to Denver to Philadelphia to Chicago to Cleveland to Oklahoma City and back to Cleveland, was asked which court opponents dread most.
“I hate to sound biased, but here,” he said, “especially the past two years. When we would come to town, the fans are real tough on the opponents. This is it.”
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