2012 NBA Playoffs: Why Home-Court Advantage Will Prove Vital for Miami Heat

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IApril 10, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 29:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket during a game against the Dallas Mavericks  at American Airlines Arena on March 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Heat are monsters at home. Miami is the best team at home in the league up-to-date, with a record of 24-3 when their opposition steps into the AmericanAirlines Arena.

They just play with much more confidence and who wouldn’t?

With fans as dedicated as theirs, when they are winning at least, the team feeds off of the crowd’s energy even in the development of a great play. You can see the crowd beginning to rise when a lob to LeBron James is still on its way to the basket, but the absence of a finish does not curve enthusiasm for Miami’s star.

The Big Three have brought a Hollywood feel to a town primarily based on appearance, status and glamour. The way in which Miami competes does not impeach the fundamentals of the game, but it adds a pizzazz and sparkle for fans perfect to appreciate it.

The rest of the league does not have to understand, because at home, Miami fans are true to their franchise’s form.

The team’s success is nothing to brush off, but the individual accomplishments of each star when they feel the vibe of their home court is inevitably more important going into the playoffs. There are some men who have disappeared during strands of the season and need to redeem themselves in the postseason.

One man who lies on the floor of Miami’s recent dive into inconsistency is Chris Bosh.

Bosh is a bit of an emotional player. While he should not be put in the category of an easily influenced Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom, as their recent sagas have played out, Bosh has shown disproportion to the consistent success of his Big Three counterparts.

James may not have always been loading the box with triple-doubles or even a plethora of double-doubles. Still there has not been a time when he has put up on four points in such a critical game like the one Miami faced against the Boston Celtics on April Fools' Day.

His confidence seems to be an ever-standing worry when it comes to where he fits in with James and Dwyane Wade, which becomes obvious in meetings where things are not going in Miami’s direction collectively.

There are stints where Bosh can take over and he has shown that, but the confidence performing at home would give him in the playoffs is something that head coach Erik Spoelstra can count on. Bosh isn’t exactly what the league would call a road warrior. Yet, neither are the Heat.

Miami’s standing record on the road is barely reminiscent of their home performances which stand at 16-12, only four games over .500. It’s no secret that the playoffs are a much tougher mountain to climb than the regular season.

Of course, lesser talented teams are battling for a playoff berth, but there is a sense of entitlement when everyone’s position is announced that makes it harder for teams that are supposed to win to actually win.

A team like the Philadelphia 76ers who are wild cards in the playoffs always made it more of a chore than simply finishing off breakfast, as James so delicately put it. Miami was supposed to finish of the Sixers in a sweep until Philly pushed the series to five games after a drilled three-pointer from Lou Williams in Game 4 at Philadelphia.

Miami should have finished off the Boston Celtics in four games after a two-game winning streak mounted at home until Boston won their only game of the series at home in Massachusetts. Miami should not have been worked over by the Chicago Bulls in the first game of the series that started at the United Center.  

The Boston Celtics are climbing in the ranks and so are those pesky New York Knicks, which both have ridiculously scary home crowds to face on the road. Miami could run into either one of these teams and a home-court advantage could be the difference between being propelled into the next round or elimination.

The truth of the matter is that the Miami Heat needs the home-court advantage to make things a little easier on their efficiency and efforts in the playoffs. It’s not that the Heat cannot control the court away from the AmericanAirlines Arena, but the advantage would not hurt. That’s why it’s called an advantage.