Fret not, Miami Heat fans (if anyone is willing to admit to being a fan of the Heat) – the NBA Finals is far from over. Yes, things are looking grim this morning after Dallas pushed Miami to the brink after last night’s win, but there are still plenty of things for a Heat fan to be hopeful of heading into Game 6 (and, perhaps into Game 7).
Most obviously is that Dallas will most probably not shoot 13-19 from three-point range again like they did last night. Even including last night’s performance, Dallas is shooting 40.8% from deep, not 68.4% like last night. You can be pretty certain their three-point shooting will slip back down towards the 40% clip next game. But the biggest factor pointing towards a Miami Heat series win is of course home court advantage. Games 6 and 7 will be played in South Beach, where the Heat won 73% of their games in the regular season. They’ve been even better at home in the playoffs, going 9-1 so far, with their only loss coming to Dallas in Game 2 of these Finals. It’s no secret that the home team wins more than their share of games, and as the book Scorecasting shows, that is due to referees being biased towards the home team (probably subsconsiously biased, but biased nonetheless). Which should mean plenty of trips to the charity stipe for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Their home court success rate during the regular season dictates that Miami should win three out of the four home games in the NBA Finals. They’ve lost their one home game already – will they really lose another?