Game Seven In The NBA Playoffs: Home-Court Advantage Is Overstated.


The most irritating cliché that I’ve heard is that the home team wins Game 7 of the series most of the time.  Since 1991, the home team is 36-10, a .783 win percentage.  This stat is always brought up without being put into proper context; as if to say having Game 7 at home causes a team to win.  However, I’ve never heard a commentator mention that the team with home-court advantage has a better record and usually is the better team anyway.  One would expect them to win a Game 7 at home, or on the road.  In this article, I will try to find out how many Game 7s were won by the home team mainly because they were at home. 

The table below tries to get the answer to the previous question.  The basic premise of the table is that the more road wins there are in a series, the less home-court advantage matters.  I separate Games 1-4 from Games 5-7 because the last three games of a series are usually more intense than the first four and home-court matters slightly, but still materially more in the last three games.  Since 1991, in Games 1-4 the road team wins 32% of the time while in Games 5-7 the road wins 25% of the time.  I rate, on a four point scale, the probability of the home team winning Game 7 mainly because they’re at home.  The four outcomes are: Yes, Probable, Doubtful, and No.  This is scale far from perfect, but it appears sufficient to conclude that Game 7 home-court advantage is overstated.

Here are two examples of how the table works: The 2004 series between Miami and New Orleans produced no road wins, so it would be safe to say that the home team won Game 7 because of the home court advantage. 
The 2003 Detroit-Orlando series produced two road wins, Detroit winning that Game 7 was more likely due to them being a better team than due to home-court advantage. 
The table below shows the eleven first-round series that went to Game 7 since the first round expanded in 2003. 

                                                                First Round:
The home team won 9 of the 11 Game 7s, but how many of those 9 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 5 of the 9 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 4 of the 9 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage, at least in the first round of the playoffs, seems greatly overstated. 
 
                                               Conference Semi-Finals:
                               
The home team won 17 of the 23 Game 7s, but how many of those 17 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 11 of the 17 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 6 of the 17 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage in the Conference Semifinals’ Game 7s, appears to be overstated, as it did in the first round of the playoffs.



                                            Conference & NBA Finals:

The home team won 10 of the 12 Game 7s, but how many of those 10 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 6 of the 10 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 4 of the 10 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage in the Conference and NBA Finals’ Game 7s, appears to be overstated, as it did in the first round and conference semifinals of the playoffs.


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Sweep Revenge: How Teams Bounce Back After Being Swept In The Playoffs.



The Hawks have avenged their playoff sweep at the hands of the Orlando Magic in 2010. They became the 9th team in the last 30 years win a series against the team who swept them in the playoffs the previous season. On the following table, teams in bold have achieved the feat and the teams in red got swept two years in a row by the same team.


                              Some notables about the table:

The 2001 Lakers swept all three teams they faced in the Western Conference Playoffs and then beat the same three teams a year later in the playoffs.

Hawks-Magic: The Hawks Had The Perfect Game Plan.

Tonight’s game between the Hawks and the Magic exposed Orlando’s biggest offensive weakness.  They played Dwight Howard straight up and stayed home on the Magic’s perimeter players.  Obviously, anyone who watches basketball knows that is the defensive game plan of choice against the Magic. 
The table above compares the difference in the Magic offense when Dwight scores less than 25% of their points and when he scores more.  The difference is astounding.  The Magic are 36-12 when he is less the 25% of the offense!  An astute observer would say, “Of course they lose more when he scores a higher percentage of the team’s points, that probably means the rest of the team is scoring fewer points in general.” However, in this instance, the stats don’t bear that out.  The team actually scores more points when he is scoring less, 100.9 points per game to 97.3 points per game.  Obviously, they need him to score; they can’t win if he only scores 10 points per game, but if he is scoring 35-40 points they’re  usually in bad shape.  The strategy of using single coverage on Dwight works because the Magic don’t have guys that create their own shots, they tend to hang around the perimter, and they don’t move well without the ball.  They are too dependent on him kicking out to the three-point shooter or the guy who passes to the three-point shooter.  I bet he has a lot of hockey assists.

Other Posts:

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/carmelo-what-has-he-done-to-knicks.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/celtics-knicks-staying-in-boston-for.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/game-7-in-nba-playoffs-home-court.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/game-7-in-nba-playoffs-home-court_14.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/can-nba-team-peak-too-soon-and-still.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/nfls-new-kickoff-rules-are-they.html

Game 7 In The NBA Playoffs: Home-Court Advantage Is Overstated.



As the NBA playoffs are in full swing, no doubt you’re hearing dozens of clichés thrown around by commentators.  The most irritating cliché is that the home team wins Game 7 of the series most of the time.  Since 1991, the home team is 36-10, a .783 win percentage.  This stat is always brought up without being put into proper context; as if to say having Game 7 at home causes a team to win.  However, I’ve never heard a commentator mention that the team with home-court advantage has a better record and usually is the better team anyway.  One would expect them to win a Game 7 at home, or on the road.  In this article, I will try to find out how many Game 7s were won by the home team mainly because they were at home. 

The table below tries to get the answer to the previous question.  The basic premise of the table is that the more road wins there are in a series, the less home-court advantage matters.  I separate Games 1-4 from Games 5-7 because the last three games of a series are usually more intense than the first four and home-court matters slightly, but still materially more in the last three games.  Since 1991, in Games 1-4 the road team wins 32% of the time while in Games 5-7 the road wins 25% of the time.  I rate, on a four point scale, the probability of the home team winning Game 7 mainly because they’re at home.  The four outcomes are: Yes, Probable, Doubtful, and No.  This is scale far from perfect, but it appears sufficient to conclude that Game 7 home-court advantage is overstated.

Here are two examples of how the table works: The 2004 series between Miami and New Orleans produced no road wins, so it would be safe to say that the home team won Game 7 because of the home court advantage; The 2003 Detroit-Orlando series produced two road wins, Detroit winning that Game 7 was more likely due to them being a better team than due to home-court advantage.  The table below shows the eleven first-round series that went to Game 7 since the first round expanded in 2003. 


                                                                First Round:

The home team won 9 of the 11 Game 7s, but how many of those 9 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 5 of the 9 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 4 of the 9 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage, at least in the first round of the playoffs, seems greatly overstated. 



                                               Conference Semi-Finals:

                               

The home team won 17 of the 23 Game 7s, but how many of those 17 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 11 of the 17 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 6 of the 17 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage in the Conference Semifinals’ Game 7s, appears to be overstated, as it did in the first round of the playoffs.



                                            Conference & NBA Finals:

The home team won 10 of the 12 Game 7s, but how many of those 10 wins were mainly because of home-court advantage?  According to the table, only 6 of the 10 wins were at least probably due to home-court advantage alone.  That means that 4 of the 10 home-team wins probably had nothing to do with home-court advantage.  Home-court advantage in the Conference and NBA Finals’ Game 7s, appears to be overstated, as it did in the first round and conference semifinals of the playoffs.


Related Posts:


http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wait-til-next-year-which-league-gives.html


http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/sweep-revenge-how-teams-bounce-back.html


http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/nfl-draft-how-good-were-top-100-picks.html


http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/04/playoff-sweeps-some-are-worse-than.html


http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/nfls-new-kickoff-rules-are-they.html