Why has home-court been so important to the Celtics and Cavs?

Marcus Smart
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart celebrates near the end of Game 5. –AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Celtics are a perfect 10-0 at home in the playoffs. Three times the Cavaliers have come to the TD Garden and three times LeBron James and company have been sent back to Cleveland with a loss to keep them company on the ride.

But as successful as Boston has been at home in this series, they have been equally unsuccessful on the road. After the Celtics’ 96-83 win in Game 5, players on both sides reflected on the heightened importance of home-court advantage in this Eastern Conference finals.

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said that he wasn’t sure what was going on, but “it’s more than just home-court advantage at this point.”

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Kyle Korver said that he’s never played in a series where home court seemed to matter so much.

“We’ve just played really bad here in Boston,” he said, “And they probably feel the same way about how they played in Cleveland.”

His teammate Tristan Thompson agreed, saying, “This is the first series I’ve been apart of that both teams played completely different on the road.”

The Celtics have been a different team at the Quicken Loans Arena in the first five games of this series. Boston’s plus/minus stands at +17 at home. On the road that mark drops to -19.5. The Celtics’ rebounding average plummets by almost 11 points away from home, while the three-pointers made falls by nearly four.

Addressing the media after Game 5, the Celtics were unaninimous in crediting the TD Garden faithful for the uptick in their performances there. Al Horford said that at home his teammates feel comfortable, as opposed to on the road where “you’re just out there against everybody else.”

Marcus Morris said having “the best fans in the NBA” helps the Celtics cause. Terry Rozier seconded that, and even suggested that the team bring one or two along for Game 6 in Cleveland.

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“Somebody bring Lucky or somebody,” he said. “A couple fans or something.”