There's No Place Like Home for the Celtics
WALTHAM, Mass. – There’s a reason why the Boston Celtics want to have home-court advantage when the playoffs roll around. TD Garden is one of the most electric sporting venues in the world, and magical things tend to happen when 18,624 raging Celtics fans are behind the team.
The process of gaining home court, however, is not an easy one. The NBA’s 82-game season is a grind that has become even tougher nowadays thanks to a depth of talent across the league.
This challenge is not one that will force the Celtics to wilt. They embrace it. Home court is their long-term goal, even in the first week of the regular season.
Paul Pierce touched on this topic after Thursday’s practice. He indicated that the first step toward gaining home court is, in fact, defending that court during the regular season.
“I think it starts with protecting your home, and then you fight and battle in road games,” Pierce said. “But in order to get home-court advantage in the playoffs you’ve got to be able to have a great home record.”
Last season’s record at home was 24-9, which was the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics also went 8-2 in the postseason and nearly reached the NBA Finals.
That’s great for the Celtics, but not so much for opponents. To put it simply, the Celtics love to play in TD Garden and opponents despise it.
“I think the Garden has been a tough place to play in,” said Rajon Rondo. “I don’t know our record to date, but… we’ve had a pretty good home record.”
That’s an understatement, Mr. Rondo. The Celtics have been incredible at home ever since Kevin Garnett joined forces with Pierce and Rondo. The team’s overall regular season record in the Garden since Garnett’s arrival is 151-46, good for a win percentage of 76.7 percent. They're also 38-10 at home in the playoffs during those five seasons, good for a win percentage of 79.2 percent.
Boston has can begin this year’s home slate on a similarly successful note when it hosts the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. If you’re heading to the game or watching it on CSNNE, be prepared to watch a Celtics team that’s motivated to perform at the Garden.
“It’s always great to be at home, get a chance to protect our home court,” Pierce said. “This is the start of it, so hopefully we can put on a better showing than we did in game 1 on the road.”
There will be 18,624 Celtics fans hoping for the exact same thing. The groundwork for home-court advantage will begin to be laid out Friday night in TD Garden.