Many of the remaining 2012 NBA playoff teams would not have come this far without their great home crowds.
The support that home crowds and familiar facilities give to players is something that is difficult to measure. It is telling though that, of the five remaining playoff teams, four ranked in the Top 10 in regular season home winning percentage.
These teams feed off their home crowds, which is a big part of why they are some of the best teams in the league. Here are how the home crowds of the remaining playoff teams stack up against one another:
It isn't that the Philadelphia 76ers' home environment is terrible. In fact, it probably ranks in the top half of the NBA in terms of fan support. However, compared to the other places on this list, it lags considerably behind.
In a town with the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers, the Sixers have been largely overshadowed. Philadelphia fans are passionate, but they can also be downright mean. After all, they did throw snowballs at Santa Claus.
That being said, the 76ers' home court has gotten better in recent years. If this team can keep improving, its fanbase will improve along with it.
San Antonio and its Spurs are a very good fit for one another. The Spurs are a quiet team that have played fundamental, successful basketball for over 10 years under the direction of Gregg Popovich.
The city of San Antonio is one of the smaller markets in the NBA. It isn't a flashy town, but it is a very respectable one that fulfills its purpose exceptionally well. The fans love their NBA team, but they aren't crazy enough to be ranked higher on this list.
The Boston Celtics are historically the most dominant franchise in NBA history, and their fans know it, lending an earned arrogance to their attitude.
This team knows how to win because of its heritage—winning is expected of them. Celtics fans hold them to the highest standards in the NBA. Despite the great players that have played for this franchise, it is the fanbase that maintains a standard of excellence, more than anyone else.
Miami is a lively and fun place to be, and its basketball fans follow that same philosophy in their support of the team. Celebrities make regular appearances, as glitz and glamor come with the territory.
When Dwyane Wade recruited superstar teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him in South Beach, it created unparalleled expectations and excitement within South Beach. Those emotions really come through during home games and fuel the Heat, who tied for the best home record in the NBA.
It may be that the Oklahoma City crowd is the best simply because the honeymoon hasn't worn off yet from finally getting a professional sports franchise. Or, it could be because the team is so good. In all likelihood, it's a combination of both.
Despite the cause, there is really no debate that OKC has the best home-court atmosphere of the remaining playoff teams.
The basis for such fervor comes from the state of Oklahoma being such a college-centric arena for sports. For a state that has always been divided between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, it is nice to finally have a professional franchise for everyone to get behind.