Home court advantage is a huge factor in the NBA playoffs, and the Finals will likely be no different. Only one win on the opposing team’s floor can change a series, so let's see what's our NBA pick
I went into the Warriors home court prowess a little in an article over the weekend, but it bears repeating that like last year, this year’s NBA Finals will be in the normal 2-2-1-1-1 format, instead of the older 2-3-2. This helps the Dubs a lot because if they do end up losing one of their first two home games, they don’t have to worry about playing three straight games in Cleveland. This is definitely advantage Warriors. However like I mentioned over the weekend, the Warriors’ offense has been suspect at home throughout the playoffs, and with how good the Cavaliers defense has been playing throughout the playoffs, it remains to be seen whether or not the Warriors can overcome their home court scoring slump. The Warriors are only averaging 101 points per game at home during the playoffs, opposed to nearly 109 points per game on the road in the postseason.
Cavaliers Home ATS Issues
The Warriors haven’t been great ATS at home this postseason either at 3-5, but the Cavs are 4-4 ATS at home. A big reason for this was them being overvalued at home during the first two series against the Celtics and Bulls, where they went 2-3 ATS in their first five home games. While it’s understandable that they dropped a game ATS back in the first round against the Celtics as big -11 favorites on the NBA odds, the other games they dropped ATS at home they were only favored by -4 ½ and -5 ½.
Could Injuries Affect Warriors Home Court Advantage?
The biggest story leading up to these Finals are the injuries to two of these team’s top players, and whether or not they’ll be 100% heading into Game 1. Klay Thompson suffered a concussion in the final game against the Rockets, and even though he has reportedly not passed the NBA concussion protocol yet, a report out last night claims his headaches have subsided. However if for some reason he can’t play, the Golden State Warriors might be in big trouble on their home court in Game 1. So far in the playoffs, when Klay Thompson is off the court, the Warriors Offensive Rating drops a full five points, and it was even worse than that in the regular season, as it went from over 115, to just 105. Thompson only missed five games during the regular season, and the Warriors went 3-2 without him, however on the road, they were 0-2 in games he missed, which is something to jeep in mind if for some reason his symptoms linger into Game 3 and beyond and he is unable to play.
Kyrie Irving is another big factor in this series, so keep this in mind before placing your NBA picks. The Cavs were only 1-6 SU in games where Irving did not play, and they were 1-4 SU on the road in games he did not play. While all signs point to him being able to play in Game 1 after playing in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, if he isn’t 100%, it’s going to be very hard for the Cavs to win at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are so far 46-3 at home during the regular and postseason.