Home Court Advantage Coming Up Huge

Title: Home Court Advantage Coming Up Huge
Date: May 15, 2008
Original Source: Hoops Addict
Synopsis: This Hoops Addict article examined the serious home court advantage that was present in the Spurs/Hornets playoff series. Like all of my HA articles, the links have been lost due to a server transfer, but the text was backed up.

We all learned a long time ago to never count the San Antonio Spurs out.
But after Tuesday’s 22-point loss to the New Orleans Hornets set them back three games to two, it’s difficult not to envision the Conference Finals without the black and silver. Yes, the Spurs have a home game left tonight and yes, they are the Spurs, but the story of this series so far makes that fact somewhat irrelevant.

The Spurs simply cannot get it done in New Orleans. With raucous crowds spanning from rappers to NFL quarterbacks to 16-time World Champions, nobody can deny the Hornets’ home court advantage. Furthermore, it hasn’t been a case of the Spurs playing poorly away from home so much as it has been the Hornets playing to their absolute potential.

With wins of 19, 18, and 22 points at home so far, the Hornets have developed a serious swagger on their own floor. If you include the playoffs, the Hornets are now 37-11 for the year at New Orleans Arena. It’s not Utah’s record, but it’s impressive and has to be to the point of intimidating for the opposition.

On the other side of things, San Antonio has been dominant at home in this series as well. They have won their two home games by margins of 11 and 20 and also went 3-0 at home in the first round. That brings their home record for the year to 39-7, even more intimidating than that of New Orleans.

And that’s why they call it home court advantage. Both teams clearly have a large advantage playing on their own turf, and the Hornets, for all the lack of publicity they got until March, finished the season with the better record. They earned themselves a Game 7 at home over the course of 82 games, something some say the Spurs didn’t care enough to do. The Spurs, at just 23-23 on the road, face an uphill battle in the next few days.

Should they win tonight, they’ll have a few days to regroup and gameplan before Monday’s Game 7 in the Bayou.

By the way, it’s much the same story elsewhere, too. Heading into Wednesday’s games, the home team was 17-1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs. The Lakers look favoured against the Jazz only because neither team can get the ball rolling on the road. Every Cavaliers-Celtics game has been similar in substance but the results speak for themselves, and they favour Boston.

Can we expect this trend to continue? Game 7s are an entirely different beast than other playoff games, and it takes a certain mentality and level of preparation to play in one. The Hornets are a young team, lead by a young point guard. The Spurs are a veteran team, have been there many times before, and have one of the most polished coaches in sports. If the series is locked at three games apiece, the Spurs know how to win. They know what they need to do and how to do it. The Hornets, on the other hand, are learning as they go and developing an identity while they do it.

If the Spurs can continue the trend of home-court dominance tonight, Monday’s Game 7 will paint quite the picture for the present and future of the NBA. It has the potential to be a changing of the guard in the Western Conference, from veteran dynasty to wave of the future. Despite only 1 in 10 ESPN experts picking New Orleans, I just don’t see how, at this point, you can bet against Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen in New Orleans.

In New Orleans.

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