Tuesday , Jun , 05 , 2012 Matt Formica

Home Court Advantage Crucial in Conference Championships

Home Court Advantage Crucial in Conference Championships

In both the Eastern and Western Conference Championship series, one thing has been certain:  home court advantage means everything.

Hoopsvibe’s Very Quick Call:  If the first four games of each series are any indication, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Championships alike are going to 7 games.

Last night, the Celtics beat the Heat to tie the series at two games a piece.  The Heat took the first two games in Miami and the Celts took 3 and 4 in Boston.

In game 1, Miami couldn’t be stopped.  In fact, they never trailed in the entire game.  At one point, Boston came back to tie it up but the Heat quickly went on a run that would eventually lead to a game 1 victory.  The crowd at American Airlines arena was amped up to start the series and the Heat just dominated.  The Celtics had four technical fouls throughout the game, which was compounded each time by roars from the home crowd.

While game 2 was closer and Rajon Rondo had a career game (44 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds), Miami was able to hold off the Celtics in overtime, 115-111.  Home court advantage became a huge factor in the third quarter when the Heat began the half down 15 points and rallied from that deficit to take the lead.

With game 3 in Beantown, we saw the tides turn.  With Boston sports fans being some of the most passionate in the history of all sports, they were more than ready to go in game 3. 

After a hard foul from Haslem on Garnett, Garnett went to the floor, did a few push ups and sent the crowd into hysteria.  It seemed that Boston fed off that home court energy, elevating their play on both sides of the ball, especially on the defensive end.  Boston won 101-91.

Same story in game 4 last night.  While Lebron James did finish with 29 points, he fouled out with a few minutes left in the game, and the Boston faithful was going crazy.  Before fouling out, the home crowd energy probably contributed to Lebron’s terrible night at the free-throw line; James went 4-8 in last night’s game.  Wade had a chance to win the game with a three at the buzzer in overtime but there was no way the spirit of Red Auerbach was going to let that happen.

An extremely similar story line has unfolded in the Western Conference as well.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led the Spurs to victories in both games 1 and 2 of that series.  It looked like the Spurs were the superior team and definitively on their way to the NBA Finals.

Not so fast.

Everyone seemed to forget about that elusive power of home court advantage and no home court in the NBA this year has been a crazier place to play than Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.  Their fans have been insane all year and in game 3 we all saw what an impact they have on the game.

The Thunder fed off the same energy at home that they’ve been feeding off all season; stepping it up huge on the defensive side of the ball.  Thabo Sefalosha was given the responsibility of defending Tony Parker and with the help of a crazy fan base, was able to hold the Spurs premier point guard to 16 points in game 3 and 12 points in game 4.

And here we are, with both series knotted up at two games a piece.

A great place to be for any NBA fan.

Viva la home court advantage!

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Image source:  AP Images