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NBA: Must-win for Cavs

LeBron James

OAKLAND, United States (AFP) – LeBron James has won a road game in an NBA record 29 consecutive playoff series and the Cleveland superstar must stretch that streak for the Cavaliers to defend their title.

Golden State owns a home-court edge in the NBA Finals and opened the best-of-seven championship series with a 113-91 home triumph, although James will have another chance to win at Oakland in game two Sunday.

If ‘‘King’’ James and the Cavaliers don’t take advantage at Oracle Arena, the Warriors will stretch their NBA playoff win streak record to 14 games and could become the first champions to run undefeated through the playoffs by winning Wednesday and Friday in Cleveland.

The 32-year-old playmaker has won a road game in 35 of 38 playoff series over his 12 NBA playoff campaigns, last failing to do so with Cleveland against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals.

‘‘He’s a great player,’’ Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. ‘‘Anytime you want to win a championship, you have to win on the road. And we understand that. With Golden State having home court the last three years, we know it’s going to be tough.

‘‘You have to win on the road to be great.’’

James, who last month overtook Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader, was coached by current Warriors acting coach Mike Brown with the Cavaliers, who appreciates the streak and the longevity James has shown in reaching eight career NBA Finals, the last seven in a row.

‘‘It just speaks volumes to who he is as a player. He’s one of the greatest all time,’’ Brown said. ‘‘When you have his ability, when you have his intelligence and feel and all that other stuff, you’re able to lead your team in difficult situations and tough environments. And he’s done that for many years. So you take your hat off to him.’’

James is 3-4 in NBA Finals appearances but his teams, the Cavaliers and Miami from 2011 to 2014, are 1-7 in NBA Finals openers.

‘‘That’s testament to where he has kept his team together and helped them overcome tough situations and still come out on top,’’ Brown said.

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