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Home Court Advantage: Who Has The Best In The NBA?

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Does home court still matter in the NBA? It does, so who has the best one?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Every season 30 teams slog through an 82 game schedule to see if they can have the privilege of having the most playoff games played on their home court, in front of their home fans. Outside of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL there isn't really a home court or home field advantage more prevalent in any sport other than the NBA.  The home cooking actually means something, the deafening noise created by the fans is a difference maker.  It can make or break a game, a series, or a championship.

Come May and June, which courts will opposing teams fear and which ones will treat as if they are just another open gym shoot around session?

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
30 ><a class='sbn-auto-link' href=
29 30 29.6

The Bucks have an exciting young team, but how many fans are going to show up to cheer these young guys on?  That is a big question to be seen heading into the season.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
29 Hawks_logo_medium
26 30
28.3

I cannot name a fan base that routinely does not sell out playoff games like the fans of the Atlanta Hawks.  Personally, I would have dropped them down to 30, maybe 31.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
28 Sixers_logo_medium 21 29
27.1

Philadelphia fans are very astute and know a lot more about sports over more other cities out there.  99.412% of other NBA fans don't know four of five starters for the 76ers, 78% or so of Philly fans don't know either and that is why more often than not fans will stay home and follow Joel Embiid's twitter account over the actual team.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
27 Pistons_logo_medium
23 28

26.0

After a strong run in the early to late 2000's, things have gotten a little tough for the Pistons in Detroit.  Mostly due to mismanagement and a tough economy. The Detroit fans will show up for a strong winner, but we don't know when that'll happen again.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
26 Heat_logo_medium
21 29

25.5

Show up late to a Finals game and leave before the game is over during a clinching Finals contest... The Heat should be much, much lower than this.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
25 Lakers_logo_medium
19 28

23.9

The first few rows are filled with celebrities, agents and other players of SoCal paying ungodly prices for seats that a normal fan would most likely have to mortgage out to afford.  Most fans are there to be seen on TV, not actively cheer for the Lakers.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
24 Pacers_logo_medium
16 26

22.3

To me, it's weird that the Pacers are this low because they are in basketball's heartland.  They have had trouble getting behind this team since the brawl with the Pistons and some other off the court issues.  I remember Market Square Arena being so rowdy back in the day.  They have a good up and coming team now, let's see how that translates.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
23 Timberwolves_logo_medium
17 28
21.5

I mostly can't blame Timberwolves fans for not showing up from November to April.  It's about -40 outside and 15 foot snow drifts everywhere.  Well, according to Chris Meirose, that's how a Minnesota winter is.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
22 Rockets_logo_medium
12 25
20.9

The Houston Rockets fans create a sea of red throughout the Toyota Center. Having sold over full capacity last season, the crowds are amongst the craziest in the league. They are led by the Red Rowdies, an NBA equivalent of a soccer supporters group, who paint their faces, wear luchadore masks, and get the crowd going starting 30 minutes before tip with their "Red Rowdy Romp," all the way until the final buzzer.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
21 Celtics_logo_medium
14 26

20.6
Lamar Odom once said that no matter what city he went to, people would yell out their window at him. Things like "you suck!" were common. In Boston, however, fans would yell "I'm going to find you and cut you!" and they meant it. Boston fans are "wicked" passionate about their sports teams, to the point where they made a movie about them. The Celtics are a religion in Boston, and the Garden is their church.
Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
20 Magic_logo_medium
14 26
20.6

I'm not quite sure how the Magic are this high. They had lower attendance numbers than the two teams behind them and don't have a reputation for being the most intense fans. Back in the Dwight Howard days, sure, but recently the team has struggled to fill their four year old arena. With Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Aaron Gordon, the team has a bright future and we will see if the fans come out to see it.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
19 Site_hornets_header5_0_medium
11 24
19.3

After returning to the league the Charlotte fans haven't had a had a ton to cheer for.  The team they knew and loved was swiped off to New Orleans, where their colors lied along with their mascot and their history.  All that returns to returns to the Queen City this year though.  Gone is the horrible name of the Bobcats and those terrible colors, the Hornets have returned in all their glory and hopefully the buzz in the hive will be as loud as ever.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
18 Pelicans_logo_medium
16 23

18.8

This is the 2nd year of the rebranding of the former Hornets into the Pelicans, hopefully we won't be subjected to anymore scary/creepy mascots. You really won't see a ton of fans or noise in NOLA until the Pels make the playoffs.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
17 Knicks_logo_medium
13 20
17.5

This is such a tough one to grade.  Spike Lee is there for every game; home, road, win, loss, what have you.  Other Knicks fans aren't so die hard.  It's been four decades since their last title, they have an inept owner, they have a new President of Basketball operations every couple of years, a new coach, a new system, over paid players and the fans finally stopped showing up to games.  When the Knicks are bad, MSG is a nice place for opposing teams to play, when they are good... we can drop the seven from their ranking.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
16 Jazz_logo_medium
13 20
17.3

The Stockton and Malone days of the Jazz were the most energetic I've ever seen the Energy Solutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center).  Now the building isn't quite so loud as the Jazz are going through their first true rebuild since... well before Stockton, Malone, and Mark Eaton.  SLC loves their Jazz deeply and they do show up for them, but they just don't have the difference making court like they used to.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
15 Grizzlies_logo_medium
8 20

15.6
The people in Memphis can get turned up for a Grizzlies affair.  With it being the only game in town it is pretty easy to get behind them, especially since they have been a perennial Western Conference post season participant consistently over the last many seasons.  They have a mix of youth and savvy vets that are very likable.  The fans definitely have responded well to this team and have made it a fairly difficult environment to compete in for other teams.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
14 Nets_medium
12 19

14.0

As someone who has attended Nets games at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, I can tell you exactly what the home court experience is like. When the team is playing one of the bottom dwellers, the arena is half empty and mostly quiet. When the team plays one of the top tier teams (or the Knicks), the place is packed wall to wall and the crowd is raucous. The chants of "Brooooooklyyyyyyyn" echo through the halls well after the game is over. The Nets are becoming a Brooklyn institution, same as Junior's Cheesecake or Sixpoint Brewery.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
13 Wizards_logo_medium
8 20
13.6

For so long the basketball fans of Washington were treated as if they didn't matter.  They were given hapless team, after hapless team post winning a championship in 1978 and coming in 2nd in 1979.  They were brief flashes of something that could be here and there, but that was it, just a flash.  Washington fans have been repressed, they have pent up energy and they have been unleashing it on this new dynamic duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
12 Suns_logo_medium_medium
7 15
11.3

The Phoenix Suns fans are something else.  After the era of 7 Seconds or Less they faded a bit, but as the Dragon rose last year and the Suns made a mad push toward the 8th and final playoff spot in the West, the fans returned in massive droves, with their voices rested, and they were loud.  Looking forward to more of the same this year.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
11 Nuggets_logo_medium
4 16

11.1

I thought the Nuggets should have been a bit higher in these rankings because they are the only team to have environmental factors come into play.  The fans can be loud and boisterous and come the fourth quarter when the opposing team is gasping to get as much oxygen out of that thin Denver air, concentration tends to disappear like the warmth of a breath on crisp Denver night.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
10 Kings_logo_medium
3 19
10.3

I remember the Sonics-Kings playoff match ups and man was Arco ever rocking.  There were points when Kevin Calabro would get drowned out on the play-by-play it was so loud.  The Kings are on the verge of becoming a good team, they have some nice young pieces and they have a new building on the way.  Fans are excited, that place could be hell to play in once again this year.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
9 Cavaliers_medium
4 12
9.5

Cleveland rocks when LeBron is in town and with 41 regular season home games and at least eight home playoff games, Cleveland is going to have a chance to get loud a lot this winter and spring.  Throw in Kyrie and Kevin Love, this is going to be an exciting team.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
8 Mavericks_logo_medium
8 11

9.0

There is something different about the Mavs fans that I can't quite put my finger on.  The people in Dallas seem to work themselves up throughout a game, almost like a calm frenzy.  You don't notice it at first, but they are always buzzing, always ready to explode.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
7 Bulls_logo_medium
6 11
7.4

The Bulls have had rabid fans for as long as I can remember.  The city has always loved their Bulls and continues to show strong support for them.  They are always loud and raucous.  Give them a chance to get off their feet once and they won't sit down.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
6 Raptors_logo_medium
1 15

6.5

Before this past postseason you couldn't have sold me on Toronto as a basketball town.  Not at all.  Then you see tens of thousands of fans outside the arena, stretched down the street and around the corner, trying to see giant video boards with the playoff games against the Nets because they couldn't get tickets.  Word is they are hyped as ever this season.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
T-4 Clippers_logo_medium
4 6

5.1

What used to be a place for transplant basketball fans in Los Angeles to come watch their teams on the cheap, the Clippers are now a contender, still priced way below the Lakers, have an owner who will spend what is needed to win and after Sterling was booted we saw the madness those Clippers fans can bring.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
T-4 Warriors_logo_medium
4 7

5.1

Before the corporate people of the bay area realized it was the cool thing to go to Warriors games, this place would have been #1.  Not much of a slip though, "Roaracle" is still loud as all hell.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
3 Spurs_logo_medium
2 5
3.1

I cannot think of a fan base that takes everything as personally as those in San Antonio.  Not picked to win a title? Chip on the shoulder.  Foul on Tim Duncan?  Did someone just kick every single fan's dog?  Back in 2005, during the Sonics-Spurs series, I thought it was incredibly annoying, but now that I'm more mature and appreciative, I love the passion.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
2 Trailblazers_logo_medium
1 6
2.9

Oh, Rip City, how do I love attending games at the Rose Garden (I refuse to call it by its corporate name).  You can have a losing team and that place is sold out, rocking and the everyone hangs on every shot as if it were life or death.  It is one of the best atmospheres to attend a basketball game in.

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
1 Okc-thunder-logo_medium
1 7

2.0

I have to hand it to the people of OKC, they are taking care of our former team pretty well and making ear drums bleed at an unprecedented rate.  They have absolutely earned the title "Loud City" and this is the last team any other western conference foe wants to get home court advantage throughout the playoffs.