Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Celtics Playoff Kiss From A Rose?

April 29, 2012
Atlanta, GA

So it’s been 20 hours since the ACL-tear that broke Twitter, and likely the Bulls chances of a championship.

Let's for the moment put aside the blame of the lockout (sorry, I'm not on the bandwagon with this one. Sadly, Max and I have been talking about something like this happening to Rose since he came into the league jumping sideways).  What is striking is how quickly everyone has advanced the Celtics ahead eight wins on their NBA Playoff Chutes and Ladders board.

Hey I get it. It’s completely natural to think about a Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Final. Never mind the fact that we’re still hours away from the Celtics’ first playoff game…in their first playoff series…which is not against Chicago.

And since I’m getting all bloggy from a hotel room in Atlanta, I’d remind everyone that the Celtics, will not even have home-court advantage against the Hawks, let alone anyone else.  Of course the Celtics came within a couple of rebounds of winning the championship two years ago, playing their third straight series without home court.  But what that team did, beating the top two seeds in the East on the road, was a pretty rare occurrence.

So using my own brilliant idea, and having our buddy Adam (@StatsAdam…follow him if you’re in to this stuff) do all the hard work, we came up with this. Since the NBA Playoffs went to 16 teams in 1984, only seven teams have won multiple-series without home court advantage.  Only two (The ’99 short-season Knicks and the ’95 Rockets) won three such series, with those Rockets of course winning four and the championship.

Team since 1983-84 to win multiple series without home-court advantage

’10 Celtics: 2 series (4th seeded Bos beat #1 Cle & # 2 Orl)
-Had home-court advantage in 1st round, but won multiple series without home-court advantage

‘09 Magic: 2 series (3rd-seeded Orl beat #2 Bos & #1 Cle)
-Had home-court advantage in 1st round, but won multiple series without home-court advantage

‘99 Knicks: 3 series (8th seeded NYK beat #1 Mia, #4 Atl & #2 Ind)
-Did not have home-court advantage at all

’95 Rockets 4 series (5th seeded Hou won title)
-Did not have home-court advantage at all

'94 Pacers: 2 series (5th-seeded Ind beat #4 Orl & #1 Atl)
-Did not have home-court advantage at all

‘89 Bulls: 2 series (6th-seeded Chi beat #3 Cle & #2 NYK)
-Did not have home-court advantage at all

‘87 Sonics: 2 series (7th-seeded Sea beat #2 Dal & #6 Hou) 
-Did not have home-court advantage at all

Oh, and by the way, I’m all for convenience and saying something that sounds good rolling off the tongue, but for the record, the Celtics do not have the best record in the NBA, or even the East since the all-star break.  That would be the Spurs and Bulls, respectively.  But pulling these numbers, two things jumped out at me…Memphis, and Miami.  Here are the 16 playoff teams since the break....

SAN ANTONIO          26-6
CHICAGO                   23-8
BOSTON                     24-10
MEMPHIS                  22-10
DENVER                    20-11
INDIANA                   21-12
ATLANTA                   20-12
OKC                            20-12
UTAH                          21-13
NEW YORK                19-12
LA LAKERS                21-14
MIAMI                        19-13
LA CLIPPERS             20-15
ORLANDO                 15-16
DALLAS                      15-17
PHILADELPHIA        15-17

Now, why the reality check? It’s not to put a damper on the playoff opener for the Celtics as they begin the last ride of the Big Three.  I point out the monumental, long shot task that lies in front of them because if you’ve watched this team the last two months, and the last five years, you know, quite simply, they’ve got a shot.

Which is all you want this time of year.

And none of this conversation is a knock at the Hawks.  None of it.

Last week during the pseudo-exhibition game the Celtics staged here in Atlanta last Friday, conceding home court by sitting Pierce, Garnett, Rondo, Allen and Pietrus, a Hawks employee came at me somewhat bitterly during halftime, complaining about the makeshift lineup that disappointed the crowd and threatened to make a mockery of the game. He felt the Celtics should have played all their stars.

It seemed he wanted to vent, so I let him. But as he walked away I told him don’t worry…they’ll be here next week.

The Hawks had a very good year, 40 wins, 6th in scoring differential and they did it without their best player. 

But be careful what you ask for, you just may get it…on national television.

1 comment:

  1. Solid analysis. While I'm not writing anything down on paper yet, I do feel that the Celtics would have an advantage over the 76ers in the second round of play. Of course, the Cs have to get past Atlanta first.