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How the Heat won home-court

May 31, 2011, 6:42 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game Five Getty Images

The 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals makes home-court a huge advantage — in order to win the series, the team without home-court advantage has to either win three games in a row or two games on the road over the course of a seven-game series.

In this year’s NBA Finals, the Heat have home-court advantage, and the team hasn’t lost at home throughout the playoffs, giving them a massive edge over the Mavericks. How did they get home-court advantage? A crazy final game of the regular season that saw Eddie House pour in a game-high 35 points on 7-13 shooting from beyond the arc as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh watched from the bench. The AP’s Tim Reynolds has the story:

MIAMI (AP)—LeBron JamesDwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will play Game 1 of the NBA finals on their home floor.

They can thank Eddie HouseJuwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire for that privilege.

The story goes like this: On the final night of the regular season, the Miami Heat were playing against theToronto Raptors—and had an eye on the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat were already locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the game was far from meaningless in the sense that by winning, Miami would finish with the NBA’s third-best record.

So?

Miami finished with 58 wins. Dallas finished with 57. Had the teams ended tied, Game 1 of the finals would be in Dallas, since the Mavericks swept the Heat in the regular season. Instead, the Heat hold home-court advantage going into the title series—hardly a minor deal considering Miami is the only team still unbeaten at home in this year’s playoffs.

Pretty wild stuff. Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer is probably more right than wrong in saying that the Heat’s win in the final game of the regular season had a lot more to do with the Raptors just wanting the season to be over than House, Howard, and Magloire giving some sort of superhuman effort, but it’s still crazy to think that House, who’s scored a grand total of one basket in the playoffs, had such a big potential impact on how the Finals are going to shake out.

I’m sure the Mavericks, for their part, are wishing that the Raptors had taken game #82 a lot more seriously than they did.

  1. delius1967 - May 31, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    This is nonsense. If anything, the 2-3-2 format means that homecourt is less of an advantage. With the 2-2-1-1-1 format, even if the team with the advantage loses one of the first two, they are guaranteed a trip back home in Game 5. If the Heat lose one of the first two they might never make it back to Miami.

    Home court is basically meaningless at this point anyway. You don’t get to the Finals without being a great road team. Both teams have won a road game in all three series they’ve played, so they are obviously up to the task. The Heat may be undefeated at home in the playoffs, but the Mavericks are 7-1, hardly a poor showing, and the Mavericks have been the better road team lately, with five straight victories away from Dallas.

    • thestudiokida - May 31, 2011 at 7:15 PM

      That’s bogus. 2-3-2 is a huge DISADVANTAGE for the away team. You know how many away teams have won ALL THREE games at home? Two. Two out of the dozens that have tried. Winning three straight times against a superior opponent is near impossible and only the Pistons and Heat have ever done it.

    • denverhoopdreams - May 31, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      Some people are totally uninformed on life.

  2. randommofo - May 31, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Both teams are amazing on the road and homecourt is pretty meaningless in this series

  3. deiong - May 31, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    its easy to see who the heat got home court advanage Stern and the refs gave them the season. fake calls all through the season, and if you go back and rewatch all th eseries you can take notes, every single call that was somewhat close miami got the call there way 100 percent of teh time, not to mention all the acting and fake calls they got from horrid acting jobs but hey everyone knew stern would do anything in his power to get miami the win. sadly mavs dont have a chance, they can beat miami, but not stern and the refs on top of all that.

    • bils293 - Jun 1, 2011 at 7:59 AM

      stop crying

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