Home court advantage? Celtics finish with better road record than home
In a true NBA rarity, the Boston Celtics find themselves with a better away record than home one. With two games left to play on the season, the Cs have a 54-26 record.
The Celtics are the only team in the NBA to have worked out this particularly unique outcome. For now...
With the final game in their seasons to play, the Golden State Warriors (29-12 home vs. 29-11 away), New Orleans Pelicans (23-17 vs. 24-17), and Sacramento Kings (13-27 vs. 13-28) could land themselves next to the Cs as better visitors than hosts!
Last season, no teams finished with a better record away than at home.
The T.D. Garden is known for its rowdy fans and ear-piercing noise levels, so what the heck happened this season that made home-court advantage a duller edge than usual?
Some tough losing streaks!
Three particular lengths of losing can help us explain this unusual position that the Celtics have put themselves in. The first such streak came just after the London game versus the Philadelphia 76ers. The team had just made a colossal comeback over the pond, and were looking at four days of rest before they'd begin a three-game home-stand on the parquet. Things were looking ripe for the Cs.
But then they lost four in a row, the first three of which in the Garden, in a frustrating way. First, they lost to the Pelicans in overtime. Then, the Sixers got their revenge and took the Cs down 89-80 in one of Boston's lowest scoring games of the season. To really make things despicable, the team lost to the Orlando Magic, despite a 40-point night from Kyrie Irving. It was this stretch of the season where Celtics fans reverted to their 2017 ways and continuously cried to the heavens that the team only had one scorer.Danny Ainge's head was, for the umpteenth time, halfway on a stake.
Yall need Another scorer that can give you 20 ppg+ . Otherwise, its gone be a clean sweep in the 2nd round by CLE or TOR. Kyrie cant do it all alone.
Another certainly bad time in the Garden this season was just before the All-Star Break. The Cs lost to two conference rivals, and then gifted one to their former coach. They lost the first game of the home stand to the Indiana Pacers. A few nights later, they nearly spoiled Paul Pierce's night by getting blown out to everyone's least favorite team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Finally, on Valentine's Day, they broke our hearts by allowing DeAndre Jordan to have the best game of his career with a 30-point double-double. Bad memories...
To round off this season's unimpressive home stands, the team lost two nail-biters to teams that they may meet in this season's playoffs. They first lost by two points to the Pacers 99-97, then went down in double-overtime to the Washington Wizards 125-124.
There are few other tough losses at home that come to mind when reflecting on the season. The second game of the year versus the Milwaukee Bucks that put the team at 0-2 left fans filled with uncertainty. The team's expectations before the season started were through the roof! It was a championship or bust mentality. But then Gordon Hayward went down and people's perspectives changed, and the next game the team let Giannis Antetokounmpo drop 37 points on their brains, and people's heads started to hang so that their eye balls faced the side-walk.
The Christmas Day loss to the Wizards was like a lump of coal, too.
But enough with the negative! The Cs must've played pretty darn well when on opponents' courts to have earned themselves 28 away wins! Similarly to the tough stretches at home, their away success is also a story of streaks.
The Celtics had 13 road-trips this season of 2 games or more. Of those 13 vacations, the team came out unscathed six times, resulting in a whopping 15 wins. The largest of such undefeated road-trips was their most recent one, when the team went 4-0 on the west coast.
In general, the team was consistent on the road. They usually won the majority of their games on any given road-trip, and only went winless once. Again, it was their most recent venture, when they went 0-2, losing to the Bucks in Milwaukee and then the Toronto Raptors north of the border.
The Celtics currently have the third best away record in the league, only finding themselves behind the Houston Rockets (30-9) and the Warriors (29-11). Not bad company to be with.
I'm encouraged by this away-record tidbit as the team heads to the playoffs. We now know that they can win when the pressure is on and their aren't a million banners hanging from the rafters above them. And you know that the Garden is a whole different animal during the playoffs. The Cs will have a squad backing them up, ready to die at any moment for the W. The pressure is now on whoever lands that 7-seed.