After the Mavericks' comeback win Friday and as I looked forward to Sunday's Game 4, two playoff tenets from Don Nelson were at the front of my mind:â†µ
1. It is difficult to win an NBA Championship when you don't have home court in at least three series.
2. It is difficult to win an NBA Championship when your series all last 6-7 games.
Each can be done. The Celtics saw all of their series last at least six in 2008, and the Spurs needed exactly six in all of theirs in 2003. The Pistons did not have home court in three series in 2004, and the Rockets managed to win it in 1995 without home court in any series.â†µ
That doesn't mean that either is easy to do. In the vast majority of seasons the champion doesn't have to scratch and claw through every series, and they have the advantage of home court in the majority of their series. After a tough first rounder that lasted six games and was very physical, the Mavericks now get a reprieve. That is even more important since they are the oldest team in the league and their point guard is 38.â†µ
The win, coupled with the Grizzlies knocking out the Spurs in the first round, means that Dallas will have home court for a second series, despite being just a three seed. The Mavericks would have home court over the Celtics, but not the Heat or Bulls in potential Finals matchups.â†µ