What in the World Is Going on With the Warriors’ Home-Road Splits?
The Golden State Warriors have played 19 games since early February, and their 10-9 record in those competitions reflects the movement of their rollercoaster season and displays a near-perfect formation.
No, the Warriors don’t just win when Steph Curry plays and lose when he’s injured. Nor do they just beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones. Instead, they’ve won virtually every game they’ve played at home (10-1 since early February, including recent wins against the notoriously low-strung Bucks and Suns) and lost every away game (0-8).
This pattern perpetuates the season-long mystery. Before Wednesday’s game with the Clippers, the Warriors are 29-7 at home to 7-26 on the road, giving them the third-best pick of any team since the 1960s. The 1989 Nuggets, playing at high altitude in Denver, are the only team to have a wider gap to home runs in an 82-game season.
Biggest splits in NBA history
|Team||home recording||road record||% Difference|
|Team||home recording||road record||% Difference|
|1952 Indianapolis Olympians||25-6||4-24||66.4%|
|1955 Boston Celtics||21-5||4-22||65.4%|
|1957 Fort Wayne Pistons||23-5||5-23||64.3%|
|2020 Philadelphia 76ers*||29-2||10-24||64.1%|
|1951 Fort Wayne Pistons||27-7||5-27||63.8%|
|1989 Denver Nuggets||35-6||9-32||63.4%|
|1957 Philadelphia Warriors||20-5||5-25||63.3%|
|1966 Baltimore Bullets||29-9||4-25||62.5%|
|1953 Syracuse Nationals||32-2||10-20||60.8%|
|1951 Philadelphia Warriors||29-3||10-22||59.4%|
|2023 Golden State Warriors||29-7||7-26||59.3%|
To some extent, every team has to be better at home. But the 2022-23 Warriors are taking things to the extreme, and with home court advantage dwindling in recent decades, they look even more deranged.
So why is Golden State so volatile by location? Crime is not a problem. The Warriors are scoring 3.8 points more per 100 possessions at home than away for window cleaning — very close to the league average of +3.2 at home. The Warriors are 12th in home offense and 15th on the road.
The flip side of this statistic is that the average team allows 3.2 points more per 100 possessions away than at home. But the Warriors defense drops much more, by a whopping 12.5 points per 100 possessions, from 108.1 at home to a horrendous 120.6 on the road.
For context, the only teams with better home defense than the Warriors are the Grizzlies and the Cavaliers. The only teams with worse road defense than the Warriors are the Spurs and the Rockets.
The Warriors allow a few more offensive rebounds and free throws on the road than they do at home, but the main difference is in the three-pointers they hit. Warriors opponents shoot from long range in the Chase Center 8 percentage points worse than in other arenas. That’s double the league’s next-biggest gap this season, and the biggest gap of any team since the 2009 Clippers that played before the three-point revolution, raising the importance of that shot.
3 point allowable percentage
Go ahead and take a look at those percentages in the Warriors row on this chart; they are amazing. In San Francisco, Warriors opponents are throwing 3-pointers like Kelly Obre Jr.; everywhere they shoot no worse than Kevin Huerter.
And yet the most confusing part of this puzzle Why Warriors are burning from the depths of the road. It’s a real mystery because they deliver pretty much the same shot quality no matter where they play. Based on factors such as location and distance to a defender, Second Spectrum’s shot quality model estimates that Warriors opponents should only shoot 0.3 percentage points lower at 3 seconds at Chase Center than anywhere else. which is much less than the actual difference. (Second Spectrum actually has two shot quality models, one that takes into account the shooter’s personality and one that doesn’t. Both show the same model for warriors.)
Take a closer look at the stats of all 3 that Golden State allows, and it’s hard to pinpoint a reason why opponents do so much more when the Warriors visit. They try to throw triples from almost the same places on the court, with almost the same shooting time, with almost the same degree of openness.
Attributes of Warriors 3-point attempts
|Angle 3 Frequency||23.9%||25.2%|
|Catch and shoot frequency.||71.8%||71.0%|
|Avg. Shot range||25.4 feet||25.4 feet|
|Avg. Defender Distance||6.4 feet||6.6 feet|
Instead of a shot qualitythen the discrepancy appears to be the result of shot production. In San Francisco, the rival Warriors scored 3 percentage points. worst than expected at a distance, according to Second Spectrum. Elsewhere, the Warriors’ rivals scored 4.9 percentage points. better than expected.
It turns out that the difference between houses and roads is about 8 percentage points. For context, in the past five seasons prior, according to Second Spectrum data analysis, the biggest gap for any team was just 4.3 percentage points compared to the 2019 Pacers. The Warriors again have an almost double advantage!
Here’s a handy chart to sum up the weirdness:
Warriors 3-Point Shot
An example is Malik Beasley, who scored the most triples against the Warriors…