A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 16, 2011
“No playoff series truly begins until the road team wins a game”

"No playoff series truly begins until the road team wins a game” (or, “The playoffs don’t start until the home team loses at home") is an old NBA saying. Joe Gilmartin, of the Phoenix (AZ) Gazette, coined the saying and NBA coach Pat Riley popularized it in 1987. The “home team loses” version is the original, but the “road team wins” version has become more popular.

The saying has also been used in professional baseball and hockey.


Google Books
5 June 1987, Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel, “Lakers rout Celtics again” (UPI), pg. 16, col. 5:
“(Someone) said the playoffs don’t start until the home team loses at home,” said Lakers Coach Pat Riley, whose team is 9-0 in the Forum.

7 June 1987, Atlanta (GA) Journal and Constitution, “Magic tricks stolen’ from greats of game.” pg. D3:
But Pat Riley, quoting from Phoenix columnist Joe Gilmartin, says, “A championship series hasn’t started until the home team loses or the seventh game.

New York (NY) Times
Sports of The Times; Why Rockets Fear a Triple Play
By GEORGE VECSEY
Published: June 12, 1994
(...)
“The playoffs don’t get interesting until the home team loses,” Riley (New York Knicks basketball coach Pat Riley—ed.) said, and he should know. He has been there seven times before. He attributed that piece of wisdom to Joe Gilmartin, the sage of The Phoenix Gazette.

“Pat’s used that quote for the last 10 playoffs,” Gilmartin said Friday, “but he’s strayed a little from my original line. What I said was, ‘The playoffs don’t begin until the home team loses—or the seventh game.’ “

7 June 1997, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), “malone Delivers for Jazz” by Dave Krieger:
Conventional wisdom says a playoff series doesn’t really start until the road team wins a game. By that measure, this series still isn’t under way.

New York (NY) Daily News
A Win Is Best Way To Forget
BY MIKE LUPICA
Friday, October 09, 1998
(...)
Jeff Van Gundy, the Knicks coach, always says the series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game. The road team has won a game now.

Google Books
Reversing the Curse:
Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox

By Dan Shaughnessy
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
2005
Pg. 103:
An old saying in the National Basketball Association holds that no playoff series has truly begun until the road team wins a game.

axcentral.com blogs
Bob Young
Monday, May 12, 2008 at 06:58 PM
We’ve only just begun
As the NBA playoffs have unfolded, perhaps you’ve heard some of the talking heads refer to the NBA axiom that a playoff series “doesn’t start until the home team loses.”

Of course, that means that through the weekend we were still waiting for the second round to start because no road team had broken through.

Former Miami/New York/Los Angeles coach Pat Riley used to refer to that axiom almost every time he was in the playoffs.

He called it “The Joe Gilmartin Rule.”

That’s because Gilmartin, longtime columnist for the now-defunct Phoenix Gazette, who still writes for Suns and Diamondbacks publications, first made that observation in the heyday of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry in the 1980s.

Yardbarker.com
Down 0-2 to Boston, it’s win-or-else time for Heat
Found April 21, 2010 on Boston.com:
Dwyane Wade likes to say that no playoff series truly begins until the road team wins a game.

Ace of Spades HQ
June 15, 2011
Stanley Cup Final Game 7
8 eastern on NBC.

The old saying in any sport is no playoff series begins until the road team wins a game. Apparently this series has yet to begin. Each team has won the 3 games on their home ice. Boston blew out the Canucks 3 times in Boston, while the Canucks have held on to win 3 1 goal games in Vancouver.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 16, 2011 • Permalink