The Warriors solidified their position atop the Western Conference standings with a resounding 131-104 dismantling of the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday evening. Though the Milwaukee Bucks of the Eastern Conference have already locked up the no. 1 overall seed, the Dubs are now guaranteed home-court advantage throughout what should be a deep postseason run through the Western Conference.
Home-court advantage is crucial to increasing a team's probability for long-term playoff success, as deciding game-seven's are always played at the home floor of the higher-seeded team. According to FiveThirtyEight, NBA teams enjoy on average a winning percentage of 64.5% when playing on their home floor. Often times, playoff series go back and forth, the home teams winning each game, reducing the entire seven-game series to a single-elimination contest. Any team, player, or coach would rather have that type of game played in their home arena, hands down.
The Warriors, especially, have protected Oracle Arena very well during their successful playoff years. In fact, since Curry and Co.'s first NBA championship in 2014-'15, the Dubs have gone an impressive 39-6 in their 45 home playoff games over the past four seasons. Facing a Western Conference-field full of potential "giant killers," having home-court advantage will be a welcome advantage to Golden State as they seek their third consecutive NBA championship and fourth in the past five seasons.
Those potential upset-minded teams will have their work cut out for them, as the Dubs bring far-and-away the most talented starting five — each of whom are healthy — heading into postseason play. None of the teams in the field have had particular success against the Warriors at Oracle during the playoffs. Should the Dubs' Western Conference opponents seek to advance beyond the defending champs, they will have to win at least one game in Oakland... a task which has proven to be particularly daunting, especially in the more recent Kevin Durant era.
Photo: Derick Story