The Bucks Are The Best Road Team In The NBA But Home Court Advantage Could Be A Big Deal
What do the Warriors, Nuggets, Raptors, Celtics, and Rockets have in common? For one thing, they might be the five teams with the best chance of winning a title, outside of Milwaukee.
For another thing, they are five teams that have already lost to the Bucks, outside of Milwaukee. (Also, easy, Sixers fans. The Bucks have not played in Philly yet.)
At 20–9, the Bucks have the best road record in the NBA, and they have beaten up on quality opponents. But they have a lot to play for over the final couple months of the regular season, with a chance to secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Their 24–5 record at Fiserv Forum does not flatter how dominant they have been at home. They dropped a couple games in the final minute (Suns, Grizzlies) and fell to the Magic while Giannis rested. But the vast majority (17 of 24) of their home wins have been blowouts, double-digit wins. Like on the road, they have beaten some of the best teams in the league at home, like the Sixers, Raptors, Nuggets, Blazers, and Pacers. They coasted to most of those wins against marquee opponents.
The best reason to want home court advantage may have less to do with themselves than others though. After all, the Bucks have one of the smallest disparities in the league in terms of how they play at home versus on the road. In short, they have been great no matter where they play.
But to get to the Finals (and yes, this is getting ahead of ourselves here, but at 44–14, this is exactly the time to dream), the Bucks will likely need to beat either the Sixers or Celtics (as well as probably the Raptors). Both the Sixers (24–7) and Celtics (23–7) have been great at home this season — virtually as dominant as the Bucks (24-5) have been at home. But they have turned average on the road, with the Celtics and Sixers both at 14–14.
This is hardly new. Last year in the playoffs, the Celtics went 10–1 at home and 1–7 on the road (including 4–0 at home and 0–3 on the road against the Bucks, you may recall…).
The Bucks should be able to hold off the Sixers and Celtics in the standings. They are only a game ahead of the Raptors and two games ahead of the Warriors though. The irony there is that the Bucks have won on the road and lost at home to both the Raptors and Warriors already. The greater the team, the less home court advantage may matter. Last year, the Cavaliers won Game 7 in Boston to get to the Finals, and the Warriors won Game 7 in Houston to get to the Finals. Then again, the Cavaliers and Warriors also had the luxury of having the best player in those series.
Who does now?