Finals’ 2-3-2 format not an issue with players
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The 2-3-2 format for the NBA Finals is dissected and analyzed for potential advantages and disadvantages.
Does the team with home-court advantage really have an advantage with the middle three games on the road sandwiched by two home games at the start and end of the series? How much of advantage does home court give the Miami Heat vs. the San Antonio Spurs?
It is a fair question, especially considering the teams without home-court advantage won the past two NBA finals – the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Heat in 2011 and the Heat vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012.
But to the players and coaches involved in this series, the debate over the home-and-road Finals format is reduced to the core: it doesn’t matter where the games are played, just focus on four wins.
“Without obsessing, it’s just a sense of urgency when it’s the Finals,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You’re talking about the first team to four. It doesn’t matter how you get there. There’s nothing else you can change in terms of your routine or preparation. We’ve been on both sides of it. The next games is important not because of 2-3-2 but because it’s the quickest to four.”
By beating the Spurs 109-93 Thursday, the Heat got back home court “advantage” because two of the next three games would be played in Miami if the series goes seven games.
There are several different ways to breakdown the 2-3-2 format, starting with the fact that since the NBA switched to it in 1985 the team with home-court advantage is 20-8. The NBA moved to arrangement to ease the travel burden of the 2-2-1-1-1 format, although that format is used in all series leading up to the Finals.
In a series in which the teams split the first two games of a 2-3-2 format – the case in the Heat-Spurs Finals – the team with home-court advantage is 8-5, and Game 3 has turned out to be pivotal. The winner of that game has won the championship 12 of 13 times.
“It doesn’t matter,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Two best teams in the … [For more on NBA Finals' 2-3-2 format not an issue with players, click here.]