On Monday, Doc Rivers made a calculated bet: that his Boston Celtics either couldn't catch the game-ahead Miami Heat for the No. 2 seed in the East bracket of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, or that the C's wouldn't need home court advantage against the Heat in the second round.
The fault lies in the second rationale, and to me, screams as to why Rivers needed to go nose-to-the-knife to make sure the first rationale was challenged.
Miami did beat Atlanta on Monday, and should beat Toronto Wednesday. Those are safe bets. But not perfect bets, especially after some recent eye-popping losses by the Heat. (Like in Cleveland.) The C's could have heaped some pressure on the Heat by beating a thoroughly beatable Wizards team Monday. It's safe to assume playing two or three of Boston's four All-Stars (instead of zero) could have made that a reality. (Kelly Dwyer digs into this calculus at Ball Don't Lie.)
Here's why it matters: now, Boston is definitely on the road for a Game 7 if a Heat-Celtics matchup comes to fruition and if the series gets that far. Since the formation of the Big Three (which became the Big Four), Boston is 27-7 at home in the playoffs. Away from the TD Garden, the Celtics in the playoffs since 2008 are ... 11-19.
That's the dirty little secret of this Boston run. The C's may have some signature road wins in the postseason -- ask Kobe, LeBron and Dwight -- but by and large, like most teams, they are far better at home than on the road. And Doc concede home court advantage in the second round. He may have not gotten it anyways. But he shredded his lottery ticket before the draw. I can't get behind a strategy like that.