Home Court Advantage in the 2018 NBA Finals

The home court advantage will be critical to whether the Cavs or Warriors take home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Given that nearly 65% of teams all-time win their playoff games at home, stealing a game in the Oracle will be critical to maximize the Cavs’ already slim winning chances.

Golden State has been almost as good as you can get at home, winning 71% of games at home in the regular season which has translated into a record of 9-1 in the playoffs. Their only home loss was to Houston in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Before that loss, Golden State had not lost a home playoff game since Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. Winning in this arena is perhaps the hardest feat in all of basketball, but if the Cavs could steal one of the first two games, it would not only be a great start to the series but also a huge psychological blow to the Warriors who would then have to come to Cleveland, another extremely difficult place to play any sport.

On the other hand, Quicken Loans Arena has been a fortress of its own, where the Cavs won 52% of their games at home during the regular season and posted a record of 8-1 at the Q in the postseason. I know, as any other native Clevelander does, what an amazing atmosphere the Q turns into when LeBron steps in the arena. These finals will be no different. The Crowd will sell out every game with the worlds’ most passionate and title-starved sports fans ready to cheer on their hometown hero (who also happens to be the greatest basketball player ever) on his quest for a 4th ring. Especially with The Decision 3.0 lingering over the future of Cleveland Basketball, an atmosphere like no other will exist during Games 3 and 4. Although it may not exist statistically, the Cavs no-doubt have the stronger arena.

This advantage may be the only one the Cavs have other than simply having LeBron James on their team. With the overwhelming possibility of the Cavs losing in what could very possibly be a short series, the Cavs will have to maximize every ounce of their home court advantage and do their best to beat the odds and steal a game to give themselves a shot of taking home their 2nd title in franchise history and re-signing LeBron to a long-term deal.

 

Image: ESPN

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