If the most compelling two words in sports are game seven, then the most lucrative three words that follow are home-court advantage.
There’s no feeling quite like the comfort of knowing that when it’s do or die, win or go home, the game will be played on your home court in front of the home crowd.
The Lakers have been fortunate to have had it two seasons in a row, but home-court is not a luxury the Lakers can say with complete confidence they’ll look forward to having yet again throughout the playoffs.
At this point in the season, about midway, the Lakers’ overall record is 31-13, 17-5 at home and 14-8 on the road. Yet to reach the meaty part of their schedule, the Lakers are looking on pace to be the classic 57-25 record team, typical of those coming off championship years.
Let’s assume the Lakers win their division and are either seeded 2nd or 3rd in the Western Conference. Unless something catastrophic happens to the Spurs, the Lakers won’t get the top seed. The question is, can the Lakers three-peat without the benefit of having home-court throughout the playoffs?
The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has an excerpt from the book, “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won,” by Tobias J Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. The book has an interesting take on why home-court is such an advantage. It also dispels certain myths associated with having home-court like crowd involvement and travel, while explaining why the officiating could ultimately be the biggest benefit to having home-court.
Indeed, home-court advantage exists in sports. It’s not an aberration that teams play better at home as opposed to on the road. According to the book, “98.6% of all teams fare better at home.”