Factor No. 4 in the NBA Finals: Home-court advantage

Originally Published: June 5, 2008
ESPN.com

TD Banknorth Garden Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesHaving championship banners hanging from the rafters certainly can't hurt the Celtics in the Finals.
We asked 10 of our experts to rate the most important factors leading into the NBA Finals. Each expert had 100 points to apportion among five key factors. The rules stated no factor could be worth more than 50 points or less than 10 points. Each expert named a wild-card factor as well.

Finals Factors: No. 1 | No. 2 | No. 3 | No. 4 | No. 5 | Others | Wild cards | Results


Factor No. 4: Home-court advantage (67 points)

THE BALLOTS

Click below to see the ballots of our 10 writers:

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com
Chris Broussard, ESPN The Mag
Ric Bucher, ESPN The Mag
John Hollinger, ESPN.com
Tim Legler, ESPN
Jalen Rose, ESPN
Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com
Marc Stein, ESPN.com
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.

Marc Stein (20 points): If Boston wants to make those of us picking L.A. look stupid, its first objective is clear: Win the first two games. No one has been able to put the Lakers in a hole in these playoffs. It would be great to see how the Lakers respond playing from behind for once and needing to win those middle three games.

John Hollinger (17 points): If Boston wins, there's a good chance this will be the reason.

Remember that with the 2-3-2 format, it's likely L.A. would need to win a clincher in Beantown, which is always tricky. Historically, a seventh game at home has been a massive advantage, and Boston has been great at TD Banknorth Garden in the playoffs.

Henry Abbott (10 points): If the Lakers had home-court advantage, they would have turned the Celtics into real underdogs. But they don't. And the Lakers fans I have talked to are feeling just a little nervous about that fact. History shows home court really does matter.

Think about it this way: Would it surprise anyone if Boston won Game 1? Then how do you look at things?

J.A. Adande (10 points): It seemed like every week on "The Wonder Years" the narrator said, "I knew then that life would never be the same." (Could there be that many life-changing experiences in junior high?)

There are, however, many transformational moments in a team's first deep playoff run, and the question is, how will this new version of the Lakers handle starting on the road for the first time?

Tim Legler (10 points): Having Game 7 at home has bailed out the C's twice in these playoffs. Another long series is on the horizon and the Garden will be rockin' all the way through.

The pain of the Patriots' meltdown in the Super Bowl can be exorcised if KG can raise another banner for the most storied franchise in NBA history.

Next: Factor No. 5