The NBA is back and the fans all around the world are keenly waiting to see what’s in store for them. During those unprecedented times, NBA teams have moved to Orlando, Florida in order to resume this season, which the league postponed back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA decided to move on to the plan of inviting 22-teams in an isolated camp in order to continue the season. As a result, after four months of waiting, the NBA is officially back.
The teams will need to adjust quickly to the fact that they are going to play without their fans in an empty arena. In addition to that, the home-court advantage during the playoffs will be non-existent as the 22 franchises are going to fight in a neutral ground.
Winning on the road leads to championships
Obviously, the teams which are going to get used to the new norm in the NBA “bubble” will prevail during the NBA playoffs, but which franchises, among the 22, have the best playoff road record the last ten postseasons?
According to Fitrated’s latest study on the importance of winning away from home in professional sports in the United States, the whole league is having a declining winning percentage on the road in the postseason.
In particular, the team with the longest streak of postseason appearances in the NBA, San Antonio Spurs, have the best record in the road, winning 54.1% of their games away from Texas.
Eight out of the best ten teams in winning away from home are going to receive the “bubble experience” in Orlando. Those 8 teams are the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks.
It’s not a coincidence that most of them have had great playoff runs during the last ten seasons. In particular, the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks won at least one NBA championship during that time, while others, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets, played in Conference Finals or NBA Finals.
The most capable offensive team (among the 22) during the last ten postseasons are the Houston Rockets with 106.6 points per contest. On the other side of the spectrum, the Miami Heat are the toughest opponents in defense allowing an average of 98.8 points per contest away from home.
Only 4 teams in the Orlando “bubble” have had winning road records over the past 10 seasons.
The advanced statistics “road champions”
Among the 22 teams, the Philadelphia 76ers have the worst road record (10-24) this season, while the Bucks, the Raptors and the Lakers are the only teams to record less than 10 losses in road, prior to the NBA hiatus. The teams took advantage of their home-court in the past, but under the current circumstances, they had to win consistently in a neutral ground.
The Bucks remain the best team record-wise away from Milwaukee with defense being their greatest “weapon”. Mike Budenholzer’s team ranks as the all-league best defense in “away” games allowing just 101.5 points per 100 possessions. On the other side, Milwaukee offensive production drops to 109.2 points per 100 possessions on the road (115.5 at Fiserv Forum).
Generally, the San Antonio Spurs (115.4), the Portland Trail Blazers (114.3) and the Washington Wizards (118.3) are the three worst NBA defenses (among the 22 “bubble” teams) in road games. On the other side, the Dallas Mavericks remain the best offense in the league (116.6 points per 100 possessions) in the road followed by the Houston Rockets (113.2), Utah Jazz (112.7) and Los Angeles Lakers (112.6).
*Stats from NBA.com