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NBA Play-Offs: Advantage Suns Despite Defeat

NBA Play-Offs: Advantage Suns Despite Defeat

Phoenix Suns remain in pole position to reach the NBA Finals despite slipping to a 116-102 defeat against Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

The Suns are now 3-2 ahead in the seven-game series, and will be confident of completing the job later this week.

Monty Williams’ team visit Los Angeles on Wednesday, but have the fallback of a game on home court in Phoenix on Friday if the series goes all the way.

The Suns will have no one but themselves to blame if they fail to reach the Finals and history suggests that they will be the team to beat if they make it to the championship game.

With the title series just around the corner, NBA lines site Betway took an in-depth look at the previous 71 NBA Finals and found that home advantage is massive.

The team with home advantage in the Finals has won the championship in 50 of them – a statistic that should give the Suns confidence if they can defeat the Clippers.

Their 27-9 record during the regular season was the second best in the Western Conference and they have continued in the same vein during the play-offs.

The Suns have won six of the eight games they have played in Phoenix, further highlighting how strong they are on their home court.

Having secured the second seed in their Conference, the Suns would have home advantage against either Milwaukee Bucks or Atlanta Hawks.

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The Bucks are currently rated as the bookmakers’ favourites to win the Finals, but history suggests they will have their work cut out to achieve the feat.

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Betway’s study discovered that home teams have won 61 percent of games in the final, with Game 1 and Game 7 significantly boosting the average.

Home teams have triumphed 53 times in the first game of the series (75%), while on the 19 occasions a seventh game has been needed the home side has won 15 times (79%).

The current 2-2-1-1-1 game format reintroduced by the NBA in 2014 also appears to have increased the impact of home advantage, with six of the seven series since then won by the home team.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 4-3 victory over Golden State Warriors in 2016 made them just the fourth team to win a Finals game seven on the road alongside Boston Celtics (1969 & 1974) and Washington Bullets (1978).

With history behind them, it would be a brave move to back against the Suns finally ending their long wait to win the NBA title.

Only Sacramento Kings and Atlanta have had a longer barren spell than the Suns and both those organisations have previously won the title.

Interestingly, the Clippers have also never won the title, while the Bucks’ only success came in 1971, meaning that whoever wins will have plenty of cause to celebrate.

A Suns versus Bucks series in the NBA Finals seems to be the most likely outcome, and home advantage could well give Phoenix the edge in what promises to be an epic battle.

Source: NBA picks site Betway.

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