Playing in front of family, friends and a home crowd benefits teams with home court advantage, home court advantage has proven to be just that thus far by six out of eight teams who have taken a early 2-0 lead in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs.
The exceptions have been the Golden State Warriors, which have, arguably the “best backcourt shooting duo in the history of the game,” according to Golden State coach Mark Jackson-and the Chicago Bulls, who are playing without their superstar and former MVP Derrick Rose.
The Warriors lost a tough Game One of their best-of-seven series playoff matchup to the Denver Nuggets. In that defeat the Nuggets got outstanding play off the bench by veteran guard Andre Miller, who scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and made the game-winning layup. Golden State quickly bounced back.
Relying on their perimeter shooters-Stephen Curry and Clay Thompson, who combined to score 51 points, the Warriors rallied in Game Two to overcome the Nuggets with a 131- 117 road victory. After being blown out in Game One by the Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls also didn’t back down.
Playing away from home, the Bulls played collectively as a unit in Game Two, outshooting the Nets 48.1% – 35.4% from the field as well as five players scoring in double figures. Nevertheless the rest of the playoff contenders took care of business at home, whether it was by a large margin or a buzzer-beater.
Teams like the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers made loud statements showing why it’s important to play with home court advantage.
After boldly stating the Milwaukee Bucks would win in six games, point guard Brandon Jennings shot only 3-15 from the field in team’s second loss of the series to LeBron James and the Heat. The Knicks are playing great ball, getting over 30 points from Carmelo Anthony in both games against the Boston Celtics.
Guard J.R. Smith, who received the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award prior to Game 2, contributed 19 points in the win.
With an early series lead things can change quickly though as opposing teams now have the opportunity to play before their respective fans and in their home stadiums. It’s far too early to predict the outcome of any particular series, especially when it’s the winner of best-out-of seven series.
Teams all have the same common goal, and that is to win the championship. Winning a couple of games can motivate and drive you into future games; having momentum and the ability to stay focused gives you a clear-cut advantage. This week we have already seen two buzzer beaters in home games to determine a winner in a game.
But what will be interesting as the postseason progress, is seeing who will step to the plate in opposing arenas to hush the home crowd.