What’s at stake in Game 3? A look at historic trends

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The Cavaliers’ Game 2 win – and gained home-court advantage – didn’t give them an edge over the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

At least based on historic trends.

In a 1-1 best-of-seven series after the same team hosted the first two games, that team has won 60% of the time. Golden State is still in the driver’s seat.

What does that same history suggest is at stake in Game 3 in Cleveland tonight?

There have been 188 best-of-seven series where the teams split the first two games in one location.

  • When the home team wins Game 3, it has won 65% of series.
  • When the road team wins Game 3, it has won 88% of series.

The numbers aren’t much different regardless how teams arrive at a 2-1 series. If the team originally holding home-court advantage is up, it wins 89% of the time. If the team not originally holding home-court advantage is up, it wins 64% of the time.

In other words, Golden State would gain a stronger position with a win tonight than Cleveland would.

Of course, that cuts the other way, too. The Cavaliers need to avoid a loss more than the the Warriors do.