James Harden has good reason for not worrying about Rockets’ playoff seeding
James Harden’s Houston Rockets enter the NBA’s resumed season in Orlando tied for fifth in the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder at 40-24. They are a game behind the fourth spot and 2.5 games behind the third spot.
Ordinarily, you would figure they would be motivated to move up in the standings in order to get home court for important playoff series. But that is not Harden’s concern. He says home-court advantage does not exist in the NBA’s Bubble situation.
“Home-court advantage? There’s no home-court advantage,” Harden said on Thursday, via Alykhan Bijani. “We don’t have any fans…It don’t matter if you’re fourth, fifth or sixth seed. For us, it’s about getting in shape and making sure our offense and defense is crispy and we’re all on the same page. We’ll play anybody.”
The comfort of playing at home, staying at one’s home, and having the fan support are some of the factors that make playing at home an advantage. There is also the notion that referees can be influenced by a crowd. Those factors disappear in Orlando, where there will not be a crowd. That means teams that are already assured of a playoff appearance might not be as motivated to fight for a high seed as they usually would be. But all teams better be prepared to win when the playoffs do come around. Harden believes his Rockets will be, and he has a lot to prove.