Will history or home crowd determine outcome of Game 7 versus Milwaukee?
The quick answer is neither one! To get as basic as possible, the team that puts the most points on the board will determine the winner of this series. Without going too much into numbers, history for Game-Seven outcomes heavily favors the home team, but history has no direct effect on player, or team, performance. Per Boston.com's Tim Reynolds, The Celtics have been involved in 31 7th games and have won 22 of them. The Bucks have been there nine times and came out with a 2-and-7 record.
But the home crowd does have a direct, positive effect on performance and outcomes. I have been very impressed by the energy and noise from the Milwaukee fans for their home games. I frankly didn't expect that. But like Boston fans, they make a positive difference.
Back to history, it makes no difference in a current season or game. It would, however, if via time machine, we could bring back Larry Bird or Bill Russell in their primes. Do you think Bird's poise, leadership, shooting, rebounding and everything else he did would make a difference? You bet!
And Big Bill? Don't think for a minute that he couldn't handle Giannis Antetokounmpo. At 6'9.5" and 220 pounds, Russell"s athleticism, agility, determination and superior defense would make The Greek Freak work hard for every point. It's a nice fantasy, but it won't happen that way.
Energy is real. It can be defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. Strength and vitality? Physical and mental activity? Sounds like a pro basketball game. One other thing we know about energy is that it can't be created or destroyed. But it can be transferred.
That's the whole point here. Beyond a physics lesson, I truly believe that the energy stored in the thousands of nervous, excited fans in the stands can be transferred, figuratively or realistically, to the home team on the court. Nowhere in the League is this more evident that in Boston.
The Celtics are missing three of their top-8 players, two of whom (Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward) are starters when healthy, and one of whom (Daniel Theis) is one of the first guys off the bench. Marcus Smart is still wearing a brace on his shooting hand which obviously does nothing to help his often shaky accuracy.
If ever home-crowd energy was needed, that would be tonight starting at 8:00 PM at TD Garden. We have seen it many times in Boston and elsewhere. A team is struggling a bit on their home court, and the crowd gets noisy. Then one of their players makes a great play and the crowd ignites. The home team then reels off 10 points in a row and they are on their way.
History can not supply energy or inspire play, but the home crowd can. This young and damaged team can certainly use it tonight. It would make for one hell of a story!