How many times has the home team lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals?

Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals kicked off Thursday night as the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors faced off in San Francisco. Starring Steph Curry, the Dubs were 9-0 at home, the only team unbeaten in their own backyard. The Celtics, in an interesting contrast, had the best road record in this year’s playoffs (7-2) and were hoping Jayson Tatum could keep his magic going to turn the series in their favor early.

Is home field advantage usually important?

It would seem that starting the Finals series at home does indeed help. Just under 72% of teams in front of their adoring fans win the title first (that’s 53 out of 74 – and obviously omitting the year of the Orlando bubble). Actual Game 1 home wins stand at 77%, so the odds were against the visiting Celtics.

Obviously, Game 1 can be key to building momentum, but having that advantage applies to Game 7 as well, if we actually reach that point. There have been 19 finals series that have gone the distance and on 15 occasions (79%) the home team have won that decisive clash.

It should be noted, given where we are, that the The Celtics are one of the few teams to win on the road in Game 7 of the Finals, doing so twice, in 1969 and 1974. The others are the Washington Bullets (as they were known then) in 1978 against the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 against, ahem, the Warriors.

Why did the Warriors have home court advantage?

We saw early in the NBA playoffs that seeding matters when it comes to home-court advantage, with the highest seed playing the initial host. In the end, however, it’s the best regular season performance that countsoften this corresponds to sowing.

So, with the Warriors having finished 53-29 against the Celtics 51-31, Game 1 was at Chase Center in Golden State, as were games 2, 5, and 7, consistent with the other rounds. Games 3, 4 and 6 will take place in Boston.

Celtics win Game 1 on the road

It turned out the Celtics won by a score of 120-105, with the teams combining for the most three-pointers ever in a Finals game. Cats, pigeons…

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