The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat will be broken down every which way leading up to and throughout the 2012 NBA Finals, but home court is a stat sometimes overlooked. That stat can safely be forgotten in this series though, as neither fanbase creates a disruptive atmosphere for the opposition.
For too long I've heard the talk about how Oklahoma City has such great fans, but in all my times of watching Thunder basketball, its fanbase never seemed overly lively to me.
To be fair to OKC, its only had the Thunder for four years now so that's somewhat of an excuse. The Heat fans have had their franchise for quite some time now, but they just don't get rowdy enough to make a difference.
If there is a team with an advantage in the home-court department, it's Miami, but only if its fans keep the tenacity level up.
Kris Anderson—a local Heat fan—talked a bit about the phenomenon to George Richards of the Miami Herald:
I’ve had trouble getting rid of tickets in the past but people have been calling me since Thursday night to see if they could come with me to see [the Eastern Conference Finals].
The Thunder's Western Conference champions gear might be flying off the shelves in Oklahoma City—according to Jeniffer Palmer of the Oklahoman—but wearing shirts to a game and sitting quietly doesn't help a team win the NBA Finals.
The city may love its new team; I can't say otherwise as I've never visited Oklahoma. However, there's a difference between supporting your team and vocally helping your team win a game.
All that being said, both teams don't have a fanbase that can truly rattle the players on the court the way New York's or Los Angeles' supporters can.
LeBron James isn't going to miss any free throws in the fourth quarter due to the waving arms of Thunder fans, and Russell Westbrook won't be rattled by "let's go Heat!" chants down on South Beach.
This finals will be won by the team who wants it more and puts together consistent play.