Did the C’s Undervalue Home Court?
Last week, when asked about sitting his top players even with home court advantage hanging in the balance, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was very clear in his response.
“If I thought our guys were banged up, I’d sit them. That’s not even a question for me,” Rivers said. “I’m taking rest and rhythm over home court.”
Boston has one of the older teams in the league, and they value rest and fresh legs as much as anyone, but a quick look at their record over this season and in recent postseasons and Rivers may have rushed to judgement in this instance.
The Celtics finished this season with one of the best home records in the league at 24-9, but finished three games below .500 when they played away from TD Garden. More than that, since Boston united the “Big 3” they have never finished a postseason above .500 on the road. Going back to when they began the 2008 playoffs until now, the Celtics are 30-8 at home in the postseason, but are just 13-22 on the road.
“Home court is great,” said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. “You want to have home court, you want to play for home court. At the end of the day, we want to be healthy first. We’re definitely a better home team than road team.”
The reality is that home court advantage is just that – an advantage. Now that the season has transitioned into the playoffs, where the intensity grows each game, the Hawks will take any advantage they can get.