The Philadelphia 76ers and Home-Court Advantage

The Philadelphia 76ers can’t seem to lose at home. However, they also couldn’t beat a junior varsity squad away from Wells Fargo Center if they paid the officials. Earlier in the season, their monumental differential was perhaps a bit of bad luck and early season jitters. This late in the game, though, it is a serious problem.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Their Home-Court Conundrum

Complete Domination at Home

The 1986 Boston Celtics and the 2016 San Antonio Spurs hold the record for best home record in a single season. Both teams finished with an astounding 40-1 mark on their home floor. The Celtics won the NBA Finals that season, while the Spurs fell in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Five other times, an NBA team has finished with no more than two home losses (with at least 41 games played). Two of those five seasons came from the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, including the historic 72-10 season. Both teams won the NBA Finals. Two more of the seasons came during the recent Golden State Warriors dynasty — including the 73-9 team — both seasons ending with at least a trip to the Finals. LeBron James led his 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers to a 39-2 home record but fell in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 2020 Philadelphia 76ers are currently 28-2 at home. They still have some work to do to assert themselves in the aforementioned conversation, but they are within striking distance. They will most likely be favorites in all but one or two of their 11 remaining home games, setting them up for a potential run at history.

Road Woes

Even if the 76ers drop three of their final 11 home contests, they will be in elite company. Of 28 teams to win at least 36 home games in a season, 19 made the Finals with 15 bringing home the Larry O’Brien. However, all 28 of those teams had one common statistic that the 76ers don’t; they all had winning road records.

The Philadelphia 76ers — despite their nearly flawless home record — are abysmal on the road. On the year, they’ve won just 10 of 34 games away from the Wells Fargo Center. In short, the 76ers win 93.3 percent of home games, but just 29.4 percent of road games.

This is a serious problem.

Playoff Implications for the Philadelphia 76ers

If the 76ers were one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference, the record would not be as worrying. Their home-court advantage is as great as any in the league, so four home games would equate to a virtual guarantee in any series. Except they aren’t a top seed.

As the standings currently sit, the 76ers will not have home-court advantage in any series, barring a major upset in the early rounds. After coming into the season as the Eastern Conference favorites, that is very much less-than-ideal.

There is still time for the 76ers to get things together and prove they can win some road contests. If they don’t, though, it could very well lead to a disgruntled offseason sooner than later, and much sooner than anyone anticipated.

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