Homecourt advantage: to most people, that is just a basketball term, something that gets thrown around when people jockey for position and need extra motivation for another regular season game. But when you experience it, like we do as players, it is a huge obstacle that is hard to overcome. All season long, teams play to have homecourt advantage once the playoffs come around. We do not just play a regular season and then crown the champion, like in soccer. In basketball, the real season starts when the playoffs begin. Now, it is crunch time and the excitement builds exponentially.
What is homecourt advantage? My team, Asseco Prokom Gdynia, experienced it in the last two games in Piraeus against Olympiacos. Homecourt advantage is 15,000 roaring fans. It’s a bus forgetting to pick you up before the game at the hotel. It's an atmosphere that pushes you to get that one extra loose ball. Homecourt advantage wins close games.
My team played great basketball for two nights. We started the series with an 11-0 run and kept playing great basketball for the entire two games. We defended well and played good on offense, but we did not come away with a win. Olympiacos played equally as good as we did, but in the end they played at home and had the little bit of extra luck that was needed to beat us. What do we need to change now? I say that we need to just keep fighting and turn the next two home games into great basketball games, which our fans and we can remember for a long time to come.
In the NBA, homecourt advantage in the playoffs has produced a 75-percent winning percentage for the host team. That would put us in the driver's seat now for the next two games here in Gdynia,...
Jan Jagla - Gdynia, Poland
March 29, 2010