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Throughout the season, you hear players, coaches and members of the media use the phrase, "The road to a championship." It's almost become a cliché. The road includes long film sessions, hundreds of hours in the gym, thousands of jump shots, and a tremendous amount of chemistry with your teammates.
All of that matters, but when I think about my team and the road to the championship, I think about road games. No clichés or metaphors for hard work paying off. I'm talking about those 17 regular-season games we play outside the state of Connecticut.
The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat each went 28-13 on the road during the past NBA season. It's no accident that these were the two teams to play in the Finals. Dallas clinched its first NBA championship, beating Miami twice in South Beach.
The Green Bay Packers had to win at Philadelphia, at Atlanta and at Chicago before they beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl.
If you want to win a championship, you need to win on the road.
So far this year, we're 5-0 at home and 1-3 on the road. Not a championship record. It doesn't matter if you stay in a crappy hotel near a train station where your room rattles all night. You have to find a way to win. It doesn't matter if your food options are limited, and you're stuck eating at the only restaurant that's open late at night. You have to find a way to win. The gym isn't yours, the lockers aren't yours, and the fans hate you. You've still got to find a way to win.
We're hitting the road hard this week. On Friday we pack up, leaving the friendly confines of the Mohegan Sun Arena to prepare for a three-game, nine-day road trip at Minnesota, at Indiana and at New York (which isn't really New York, it's Newark, N.J.). This will be our first game against New York this season.
The road to the championship is very real. It's filled with speed bumps, potholes and massive traffic, but a championship team learns to navigate those pitfalls. This weekend, we set out to conquer that road.