What determines home court advantage in the NBA Finals?

The culmination of the 2020-21 campaign begins on Tuesday night, with the Phoenix Suns having home court advantage over the Milwaukee Bucks as they compete in game one of the NBA Finals.

Between the two franchises, they have won only one championship – the Bucks in 1971 – while neither side has reached the Finals since the Suns did it back in 1993. Both teams were terrific, though, in the regular season and continued their form into the playoffs.

Milwaukee outlasted the Brooklyn Nets in the semi-finals, while the Phoenix Suns defeated both LA franchises.

Phoenix will have the upper hand in the series by hosting their opponents four times and will only have to travel on the road three times if necessary. But what determines home court advantage in the NBA Finals? That is what we will discuss in this article.

Why do the Phoenix Suns have home court advantage in the NBA Finals

Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

In the first three rounds of the playoffs, how home court advantage is determined is self-explanatory. The team who finishes with the better regular season record can play at home four times if necessary, while their opponent can only play at home on three occasions.

Though it becomes a battle of East versus West in the NBA Finals, the same rules apply.

Therefore, with the Phoenix Suns having the superior record of 51-21 to the Milwaukee Bucks’ 46-26, they will host their opponent in the first two games and four times overall if it turns out to be a 7-game series.

Although some teams tend to rest their star players on occasion during the campaign or before the playoffs, every win counts. The Phoenix Suns finished with the fourth-best home court record in the league and were the best team on the road.

For the Bucks, they finished with only one win less than their opponents at home during the season and four wins fewer on the road.

Home court advantage has always been highly sought in the history of the league and in the NBA Finals. However, the percentage of wins for the home side has continued to drop in recent years.

Over the past eight seasons, the home team has won less than 60% of the time during the regular season and this year in the playoffs, has only prevailed 54% of the time.

Neither the Phoenix Suns nor the Milwaukee Bucks can be particularly attributed to this number, though. The Suns have gone 6-2 on home court in the postseason, while the Bucks have lost only once in eight games.

All of this means that fans of both sides can expect some impressive victories in their arena in the NBA Finals but should be prepared for the very real possibility of a seven-game series.

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