NBA Playoffs: Will home-court advantage regain its ‘mojo’ for Game 6?

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11

OKC’s Russell Westbrook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Just like the Oklahoma City Thunder who did it the night before, the Boston Celtics last night became the first road team to win in their series against the Miami Heat, defeating the Heat 94-90 in Miami. The home teams are now 8-2 in Conference Finals games this postseason.

But what about Game 6? Can the home teams (in this case OKC and the Celtics) both win Game 6 and win their respective series? Or will the Heat and Spurs steal a game on the road as their opponents did the last two nights?

In the past five playoff seasons (2008-2012) Game 6 has not been a sure thing for home teams. There have been 39 Game Sixes in the playoffs since 2008, with the home team winning 23 and losing 16, a .590 winning percentage. This would indicate that there’s a good chance that one of the road teams will force a Game 7 in their series. Will it be the Heat or the Spurs?

Home teams have won a little over two-thirds of playoff games this postseason. Here’s a snapshot of how well the home team has done in each round of the playoffs this year.

2012 NBA Playoffs

Conference Finals: 8-2 .800

Conference Semifinals: 14-8 .636

Conference First Round: 29-15 .659

2012 Playoffs: 51-25 .671

For comparison, here’s a look at the home record in the last four playoff seasons.

2011: 53-28 .654

2010: 55-27 .670

2009: 57-28 .671

2008: 64-22 .744

Over the past five years (2008-2012), there have been 74 playoffs series and 410 games. The home teams has won 280 of those games, a .683 winning percentage. Here’s a look at how the home-court advantage played out in each stage of the playoffs (conference first round, conference semifinals, conference finals and NBA finals) over those 410 games.

Playoff Round, Home Team win-loss record & percentage

Western Conference First Round, 76-34 .691

Eastern Conference First Round, 78-33 .703

Conference First Round total, 154-67 .697

Western Conference Semifinals, 37-16 .698

Eastern Conference Semifinals, 37-20 .649

Conference Semifinals total 74-36 .673

Western Conference Finals, 18-9 .667

Eastern Conference Finals, 18-9, 667

Conference Finals totals, 36-19 .655

NBA Finals, 16-8 .667

Note: If you’re looking ahead to a potential Game 7 in either series, the home team has won 10 and lost three (.769 winning percentage) in Game Sevens the past five years.


Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


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