By Jay Cipoletti
Most teams facing a 3-2 series deficit would welcome the chance to play Game 6 at home. The Washington Wizards are not most teams, even in a postseason full of road winners.
The Wizards have managed only a single home win against three losses in the 2014 Playoffs, posting a Net Rating of -4.7. Conversely, they have dropped only one playoff road game against five wins, posting a robust 8.1 Net Rating. In total, Washington has been nearly 13 points per better on the road than at home.
As pointed out here in a previous column, the formula for winning on the road is simple -- shoot better than your opponent. That simple rule of thumb has held true for the Wizards throughout the playoffs.
|eFG%||OPP eFG%||eFG% Margin|
The Bulls and Pacers have outshot them at the Verizon Center, while the Wizards have turned the tables on them when they ventured to the Midwest. Additionally, Washington has gotten to the foul line better on the road (0.304 FTA Rate) than at home (0.265) and crashed the offensive glass better as well (30.5% OR on road; 25.7% OR at home).
This is where the logical explanation begins to unravel. While they have grabbed more of their misses on the road, they have scored more 2nd chance points at home. They have missed an average of 5 more shots per game at home, so that is somewhat understandable even with the lower offensive rebounding rate. This is what is not understandable -- they have also scored more points off turnovers, fast break points and points in the paint at home.
|Pts Off TOs||2nd Chance Pts||FB Pts||PITP|
The Wizards have shot much better on the road, so you would expect that they are getting more good looks, right? Uh, no. They are getting more Restricted Area and Corner 3 shots at home, and shooting a higher percentage.
It has been in the much maligned Mid-Range zone that the Wizards have found their success on the road.
|Mid-Range FGA/GM||Mid-Range FG%|
So what can we expect tonight when the Wizards host the Pacers? This is one time the numbers do not help us peer into the future at all.