Blog Entry

How a random drawing could decide the Finals

Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:29 am
Chicago and San Antonio could wind up needing a random drawing to determine home court advantage should they meet in the Finals. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Going into Tuesday night's games, the San Antonio Spurs have a one-game lead on the Chicago Bulls for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. They split the season series between the two 1-1. The Spurs have two games remaining, both versus Western Conference opponents.  The Bulls have two games remaining, both versus Eastern opponents. The Spurs are 23-7 against Eastern opponents, while the Bulls are 23-7 against Western opponents. 

Why is this information relevant? 

Because the NBA Finals could be determined by a random drawing. 

Should the Spurs and Bulls finish tied in overall record (Bulls go 1-1, Spurs 0-2; Bulls 2-0, Spurs 1-1) and meet in the Finals, the two will pass the first two tiebreakers. There are only three tiebreakers for homecourt advantage in the Finals. The third is a random drawing. 

The official NBA tiebreakers have a complex and thorough system which would actually lead to a Bulls advantage were they put into play. However, as ESPN pointed out, and a league release confirmed, the Finals operate on a different structure. First tiebreaker is, of course, head-to-head record, the second record against opposing conference, and the third a random drawing. So should Popovich's Spurs elect not to rest starters Tuesday, but do so Wednesday against the Suns, and the Bulls to stretch their 7-game winning streak to nine, and the Spurs and Bulls win their respective conference finals, we'll be seeing a random drawing to determine where the majority of games are played. 

Another sign of how close this season is between the greats in both conferences, and how much a role luck could conceivably play in determining the 2011 NBA Champion. 

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:01 am

How a random drawing could decide the Finals

A 2-2-1-1-1 is pretty stupid if you have two teams that may have to make up to four cross country trips in a seven game series (like last year's Celtics/Lakers series). You ever flied between Boston and Los Angeles? Try making two round trips in a week and you'll know why they have the format they do.

The only disadvantage to the team without HCA is it's hard for them to win three in a row at home.

Let's say though they break through and win one of the first two games on the road and then lose either game 3 or 4 at home. Now it's a 2-2 series and Game 5 is now on the home court of the team without HCA. That team wins and now the team with HCA now is behind in the series for a change. In a 2-2-1-1-1, the home team will never fall behind unless they lose a home game.

Here is a "compromise" idea:
1-2-2-2 (team with HFA gets games 2, 3, 6, 7 at home)

In this scenario the team with HFA has to give up game 1 at home (and be behind after games 1 and 5 if all home games are won). It's a little unusual to have the team with HFA start on the road but this serves to help the team without it have a better chance of winning the series (and save some travel although it would be more than a 2-3-2). 

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:54 pm

How a random drawing could decide the Finals

Moot.  2011 NBA Finals will be Bulls and Lakers with the Bulls winning in 6!  UN-BULL-IEVABLE!!! 

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:59 am

How a random drawing could decide the Finals

and this is even more important than it should be because the NBA Finals continues to use the ridiculously outdated and seriously unbalanced 2-3-2 format, different than all other playoff rounds.

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