MIAMI – The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a stunner on Monday, winning in San Antonio to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. It was the first game the road team has won in this round, just the second time that the Spurs have lost at home in almost three months and just the third game that any of the remaining teams have lost at home in the playoffs.
The Spurs, Thunder, Celtics and Heat are now 28-3 at home in this postseason. Overall, home teams are 51-24 (.680) in the 2012 playoffs, the sixth-best record for home teams in the last 20 years.
Highest home winning percentage, last 20 postseasons
This is a bit of a contrast from the 1999 playoffs, the other time we had a lockout-shortened season. The Knicks, seeded No. 8, made it all the way to The Finals. Home teams won just 61 percent of playoff games that year.
Home dominance is typical in the playoffs. Over the last 20 years, home teams have won about 5 1/2 percent more games in the playoffs than they have in the regular season.
Home team record, last 20 seasons
A look at this year’s numbers shows that the home team shoots the ball better, rebounds better, turns the ball over less, gets to the line more and has better ball movement.
Home vs. road, 2012 Playoffs
|Team||OffRtg||2PT%||3PT%||OREB%||TO%||FTA Rate||FGM (%AST)|
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
FGM (%AST) = AST/FGM
Home teams also take better shots. In these playoffs, home teams have attempted more of their shots (48.1 percent) from the paint than road teams (46.5). And road teams have taken a more of their shots from mid-range (31.2 percent) than home teams (29.9).
The Thunder (7-0) are now the only remaining team that hasn’t lost at home in this year’s playoffs. And if they beat the Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday, they’ll have home-court advantage in The Finals (because they had a better record than both the Heat and Celtics). They’ll also have a chance to be the first team since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (10-0) to win a championship without losing a game at home.
Interestingly, over the last 20 years, only the Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers have had a better home record in the playoffs than the Sonics/Thunder.
Best postseason home record, last 20 seasons
Entering Wednesday’s Game 6 (9 p.m. ET, TNT), the Thunder are 15-4 at home in the playoffs since moving to Oklahoma City.