In a sport that’s predominantly home-court slanted, these NBA Playoffs of 2014 have seen a massive buck in the trend. The NBA betting lines in Vegas almost always make the home team favored unless the case is severe, but even then the point spread is very much geared towards the home team making a run at some point in the game so as to not get completely run off the court.
This year – to my absolute delight – has been far different, and in the Eastern Conference it’s quite clear that all the series should go into Games 6 and 7 making for some April Madness.
The Eastern Conference has seen every road team other than the expected champions Miami win. In Chicago, the heavy under-dog Washington Wizards went out and completely shocked the United Center by winning the first two games. The biggest shocker perhaps came when Atlanta went into the top seeded Pacers home and took the air right out of the building with a win for the ages. Atlanta won the first game by 8 points, despite being an 8-point underdog and in doing so stole home-court advantage to keep the Pacers reeling.
The Western Conference is a little different, but their were still some upsets. None bigger than the Memphis Grizzlies knocking off the Thunder in overtime. Golden State won on the road to open their series in “La La Land” and the hits keep on coming.
The only thing that seems for sure right now is that the teams that have the track record of being there are just briskly walking to their date with destiny. The word chalk is most notably used as a word referring to NCAA Basketball, but in this year’s playoffs it’s tough to not already start thinking about another epic NBA Finals between the Spurs and Heat with San Antonio salivating over revenge while holding the ever important yet not insurmountable home-court advantage which has been changed this year.
Oh, and a personal vetting about officiating…could the refs PLEASE remember that the game is about the players and playing basketball and not about the refs and their whistles.