By JERRY TAPP
With wins in Game 1 of their respective conference finals, the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks — both No. 1 seeds — took advantage of the home court to start with a 1-0 lead in their series against conference opponents the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors.
It’s pretty common to hear broadcasters and analysts discuss Home Court Advantage (HCA) in the playoffs. So let’s ask the question: How important is the Home Court Advantage in the NBA playoffs?
Consider this: Of the 12 playoff series that have been held so far, 11 of the 12 (91.7%) were won by the team that had the HCA in the series. (As a matter of reference, the team with the HCA won 10 of the 15 playoff series in 2018 — 66.7%).
The only team without the HCA to win a playoff series this year was third-seed Portland, which defeated the No 2 seed Denver Nuggets.
But that’s this year. Let’s expand the search and see how the HCA numbers have played out in the last 10 NBA playoffs. From 2009-18, there were 150 playoff series in the NBA. The team with the HCA won 110 of those series (73.3%). Let’s break it down by each round of the playoffs…
- Teams with the HCA in the first round of the NBA playoffs from 2009-18 won the series in 60 of the 80 series (75%).
- Teams with the HCA in the second round (Conference Semi-finals) of the NBA playoffs from 2009-18 won the series in 32 of the 40 series (80%).
- Teams with the HCA in the third round (Eastern Conference and Western Conference finals) from 2009-18 won the series in 11 of the 20 series (55%).
- Teams with the HCA in the NBA Finals from 2009-18 won the series seven of the 10 series (70%).
Based on the above stats from the past 10 years, the HCA numbers were definitely higher this year in 2019 than the cumulative stats from the last 10 years.
It also should give cause for keeping a close eye on the conference finals this season since about half of the conference finals in the last 10 years has seen a team with the HCA lose in the conference finals. If that is the case, will it be the Bucks or the Warriors?
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp