The Grizzlies won home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs last night after beating the Orlando Magic at FedEx Forum. Hooray for the Grizzlies in hosting their first playoff series.
So what does that mean? Is it really a big advantage to host a playoff series?
To find out the answer to that question 3 Shades of Blue turned to Justin Kubatko, Vice President of basketball-reference.com, the leading stats blog covering the NBA.
Looking strictly at playoff games since 1984 when the league expanded the playoffs to 16 teams, home teams win playoff games just short of two out of every three games (1401-716). So hosting a playoff series is an advantage. That takes into account the top seeds beating up on the 8th seeds however. It doesn’t relate to closer matchups like you have when a 4 and 5 seed meet.
Since 1984 between 4 and 5 seeds the overall record is 132-132. In other words, the 5th seeds have won just as many games as the 4th seeds. The home team has won 95 games and lost 49. The good news is that in the Western Conference the #4 seeds actually have managed to hold an advantage, albeit a small one, having won 66 games and losing 64.
In other words, Memphis has an advantage with the home court, but the advantage is very small.