It would have been just fine with me to win the title in Los Angeles. Losing game 5 was a bad thing, no matter how you spin it. However, out of that disappointment, comes a gift. The Celtics will (most likely) celebrate their 17th Championship on their home court, in front of Boston fans and under the previous 16 banners.
Make no mistake about it. The Celtics fought hard for the chance to have a home court advantage throughout the playoffs for a moment just like this. And believe me, it is an advantage. Let this stat sink in for a moment: The Celtics have lost 7 games at home, ...all year! Regular season (35-6) and playoffs (12-1) combined.
Who can say why home court is so much better? It is the age old question. Is it the comfort sleeping in your own bed? Is it the home cooking? Is it the emotion and energy of the home crowd? Given the questions surrounding the league's officials, you have to wonder if the supposed home-court bias of the refs plays a role. I suppose it is a little bit of all that. Still, you have to admire the fact that this team in particular seems to feed off of being at home.
One thing we've learned is that the role players seem to step up more at home. Sure Paul Pierce is going to be the man and we can reasonably expect Ray and KG to be themselves. But for whatever reason, guys like Rondo, House, Powe, and Perkins (when healthy) all seem to step up their game an extra notch in Boston. Rondo had 16 assists and Powe had 21 points at home in game 2.
Opponents appear to be effected by the atmosphere too. Scoring runs don't seem to last as long. Long distance shots don't seem to drop as often. And when the Celtics are playing smothering defense and the crowd noise is cascading down all around the opposition, forget it.
It is my totally biased but educated opinion that Boston fans are some of the best in the world. We know our basketball, we're passionate, we're loud, we're proud, and we demand Championships. I think it is an even exchange really. We provide the home court advantage, and they reward us with a banner.
17 is just one win away.
As the Captain would say, "Let me hear it!!!"