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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Sports

Heat now has home-court advantage

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 09:22 AM

Good news for the Miami Heat: They're the only team still unbeaten at home in this year's playoffs. Better news for the Heat: To win the NBA championship, they only need to stay that way.

And here's perhaps some sobering news for the Heat: Every other team left in this postseason is 1-0 on Miami's home floor this year.

So if there's a reason for Miami to be more cautious than celebratory, that's it. Yes, winning Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Chicago came with a bonus — the road to the title now goes through Miami, which wrested home-court advantage from the Bulls and would also have it in the NBA finals against either Dallas or Oklahoma City.

Still, just getting into the driver's seat is a source of pride for Miami, for obvious reasons.

"We beat the best team in the league on their floor and now the pressure is to keep home-court advantage — and that's extremely important," Heat forward Chris Bosh said Friday. "So, yeah, if we defend home court from here on out, you can do the math."

Game 3 of the East finals, which are knotted at 1-1, will be played Sunday night in Miami.

The advantages that come with being at home are many, and most are easy to figure out: familiarity with the court, encouragement from the crowd, sleeping in own beds.

There are intangibles as well, and even the players involved can't quite figure all of them out. Since he turned pro, Dwyane Wade's career regular-season winning percentage at home is .674 (186-90). But when the lights get playoff-bright, that percentage rockets up to .800 (32-8).

Why? It's anyone's guess.

"That's a great question," said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who has been with Wade for all those past playoff games in Miami. "I can't really say. Maybe because there's less home games in the playoffs, less chances to lose, maybe. I think our home crowd has always upped the ante in the playoffs."

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