Home court disadvantage — Knicks fans speak — Celtics’ best No. 11s

Friday, Jan 8th, 2021


  The Opening Tip

  • The early returns on home vs. away records say fans really matter
  • Andre Drummond is just out here trying things
  • Checking in on Knicks fans 
  • The best Celtics to wear No. 11

Tonight's best games


1. Home court advantage is now a dated, dystopian concept enjoyed only in the days before the pandemic

That headline is, of course, on the dramatic side, but to logic’s non-surprise, the general prosperity of home court advantage has been missing from the NBA this season:
  • Including last night’s games, NBA teams at home are now 57-63 this season. The two biggest outliers are the 76ers (5-0 at home) and the Grizzlies (0-5 at home). 
  • Last season, in the pre-pandemic games from Oct. 2019 through March 2020, the league’s home teams held a distinctly better record, at 535-436. 

What about the teams who have fans?

Six teams -- the Raptors, Magic, Rockets, Jazz, Pelicans and Cavs -- have been allowing fans in some capacity into their stadiums.

(Remember: The Raptors are playing in Tampa Bay, so the 3,663 fans allowed per game are not likely to be Toronto die-hards.)

FWIW, here are their six home records: 

  • Raptors: 1-2 (1-6 overall) 
  • Magic, 3,131 allowed per game: 3-2 
  • Rockets, 3,127 allowed: 2-1
  • Jazz, 1,932 allowed: 1-2
  • Pelicans, 750 allowed: 2-2
  • Cavs, 300 allowed: 2-1

The point: Small sample size considered, there doesn’t appear to be much advantage when playing without the encouragement of 20,000 fans. Either the vaccine changes things, or we’re headed for another strange playoffs, where anomalies like the fifth-seeded Heat making the Finals can happen again.

2. Daily GIF: It’s cold and dark in Cleveland

Andre Drummond is one of the league’s great enigmas. 

  • One on hand, he’s averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds in nine games this season. (Last night against Memphis, he had 22 points and 15 rebounds.)

  • On the other hand, he will sometimes spontaneously dust off the ol’ crossover in a one-point, fourth-quarter game, then uncork a layup that immediately begins traveling further from the rim than where it started. 

He is one of the best rebounders of this era, and also the tall guy at the gym who gets to play because he’s tall.

It’s why Detroit chose to give him a max extension in 2016, and why the Pistons were OK trading him to the Cavs last year for a second-round pick.

3. Trivia time

Bradley Beal scored 60 points for the Wizards on Wednesday in a 141-136 loss to the 76ers.

Who owns the highest-ever single-game point total by one player in a loss?

Hint: Not recent.

4. Knicks fans said what!?

The 5-3 New York Knicks are off to their best start since the first term of the Obama administration. To check the pulse of the most tortured and loyal fan base in basketball, we reached out to several supporters for comment.

Mike B., Queens, N.Y., who is taking the quick start in stride: 

  • “The Knicks fuckin rule and are a beacon of joy and optimism -- excited for them to beat the piss out of the Nets next week. … They’re so much better than I thought they’d be.” 

Julian R., Brooklyn, N.Y., who is thankful for an escape from the mundanities of (his) life: 

  • “I actually look to see when they’re playing and tune in to every game. I don’t watch the game and feel disappointed. It’s actually fun to watch the games now.” 

David L., Queens, N.Y., who is not celebrating yet:

  • “Not celebrating yet.” 

David L., Queens, N.Y., who was coaxed into saying something more interesting/outlandish: 

  • “They’re on pace to lock in the fourth seed.” 

Redacted, redacted, redacted

  • “Are you kidding me? You haven’t hit me up in years. I don’t even know where you live anymore. And the first thing you ask me is what I think about the Knicks? For your ‘newsletter’? How about this, actually, I answer your little question and you pay me back the $150 you owe me. How’s that sound?” 

Ahmi G., Brooklyn, N.Y., who is trying to enjoy this hot start but has built up too much scar tissue over the years not to flash to the worst case scenario:  

  • “I don’t know if I want (Julius) Randle playing TOO good. Because his contract is a steal, but can you imagine if the Knicks after all this time of tanking have space for 2-3 max guys and a promising young core...and then spend it on Randle for a close to max? So Knicks it hurts.”
Are you a Knicks fan with an opinion? Share it here.

5. The definitive ranking of all 29 Celtics who have worn No. 11


Somerville native Tony Lavelli (An-tunny is Somerville parlance), the greatest Celtic to wear No. 11, who also used to play his accordion as the Garden’s halftime show
After Payton Pritchard’s game-winning putback on Wednesday night, it’s time to overhaul our sacred list. Here it is.
  1. Somerville native Tony Lavelli
  2. Evan Turner 
  3. Bob McAdoo
  4. Payton Pritchard
  5. Enes Kanter
  6. Glen Davis
  7. Sam Vincent
  8. Steve Kuberski
  9. Dana Barros
  10. Courtney Lee
  11. Charlie Scott
  12. Mel Graham
  13. Mel Counts
  14. Jim Barnett
  15. Chuck Cooper
  16. Marcus Banks
  17. Jerryd Bayless
  18. Tracy Jackson
  19. Dirk Minniefield
  20. Michael Smith
  21. Shammond Williams
  22. Chuck Connors
  23. Stan Noszka
  24. Chick Halbert
  25. Stojko Vranković 
  26. Randy Brown
  27. Mark Bryant
  28. Kyrie Irving
  29. Sasha Pavlović

Note: This is a fluid and nuanced list that we take deep pride in. Send comments/concerns/praise here.

6.  Quick hits

  • Denver and Dallas played an overtime classic last night. Highlights.
  • Here’s Chuck on the mob riots at the Capitol Building on Wednesday.
  • In a final insult to Donald Trump, the Lakers leaked yesterday that they plan on visiting the White House once Joe Biden is inaugurated. Impeccable timing. 
  • Seattle’s mayor is “pretty optimistic” the NBA will eventually grant the city a franchise. 
  • Nikola Jokic, on Shaq: “Oh, that man is so big.”
  • Dwight Howard does not know how to use the euro-step correctly.

7.  Off the press

  • Friendship is at the heart of the relationship between Celtics Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown [The Boston Globe]
  • Paul George is back on top because he shared his mental health struggles, not in spite of them [Yahoo Sports]
  • Five James Harden trades and their massive complications [ESPN]
Trivia answer: Wilt Chamberlain (87 points in a 151-147 loss to the Lakers)

That's the buzzer.
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