The San Antonio Spurs are a lot of things this year. Being strong on their home court is near the top of their accolades.
The National Basketball Association's best overall (57-13) and home records (33-3!!!) belong to the Spurs.
At a time when the East's top three are all jockeying for position and home-court advantage in the playoffs, the Spurs are quietly on cruise control in the West with an insurmountable 6.5-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Lakers. While no one knows who the East's home court will belong to, there's little doubt that the Spurs will secure that right for themselves for as long as they exist in the West.
The benefits of home-court advantage are numerous. On top of the obvious reasons, like playing in front of your home fans and being comfortable with the hoops, home court is a huge advantage because players get to conduct their usual routines and sleep in their own beds. When in a high-pressure situation like the NBA playoffs, familiarity and routine are the best friends of creatures of habit like professional athletes.
The Spurs' hard work on the hardwood of the AT&T Center has put them in the rarefied air of the NBA's best-ever home records. Where does the 2011 AT&T Center rank among the best home courts of all-time?
With five home games remaining before the playoffs begin, here is the Spurs' place in the top 10 home teams of the last 30 years.
A handful of teams have reached the 38 home-win mark, including the 1997 Western Conference champion Jazz.
This team lost its second home game of the season against the Rockets on November 4, a team they eventually eliminated in the playoffs. They then ripped off 37 out of 39 at home to end the season. The two other losses came at the hands of the 40-42 Suns and the 57-25 Sonics in overtime.
This Jazz team pioneered dominance at the Delta Center, now Energy Solutions Arena, which developed into one of the most intimidating arenas to visit in the early 2000s. It is among the few teams in NBA history to collect three separate home win streaks of at least 10 games.
Longest home winning streak: 13 games
The "Reign Man" Shawn Kemp led his Sonics to the Finals against Jordan's Bulls and lost, but not before 38 home wins, which is the same number of kids he may or may not have fathered during his career.
(Just kidding. He really only had nine...that were counted)
The Key Arena crowd didn't provide a major home-court advantage, with Sonics' attendance ranking just 15th in the league, but that didn't stop the team from dominating.
They spread out their three losses to the point that their longest win streak at home was just 12 games. The three losses, though, were all quality. The 52-30 Pacers got them first, then the 47-35 Knicks and then the 57-25 Spurs.
Longest home winning streak: 12 games
The current version of the Spurs stumbled out of the gate at home, losing twice in the first month to the Hornets and Mavs, but then won 22 straight before falling to the Lakers earlier this month.
With five games remaining at home, it's very likely that they'll run the slate to finish 38-3. Portland, Boston, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah will try to escape AT&T Center with a win, which has not been easy to come by in the Spurs' building.
Several teams to come on this list parlayed their home dominance into NBA titles, which the Spurs will be poised to do.
Longest home winning streak: 22 games
This former NBA champion makes a repeat appearance on this list, with a three-loss home slate, all to teams with at least 47 wins.
They slipped a bit in the playoffs, going 9-3 at home, but the Spurs were undeterred on their road to securing their status as the "odd-year dynasty."
Longest home winning streak: 16 games
The Shaq and Penny-led Magic reeled off 22 straight at home to start the year before falling to the 57-25 Sonics and later the 60-22 Jazz. Pretty impressive work at home, not losing a home game to a conference opponent on their way to an NBA Finals appearance against the Rockets.
The hallmark win of the season was a 23-point drubbing of the eventual champion Rockets in November, in which Shaq had 30 points and seven rebounds.
Longest home winning streak: 22 games
The Eastern Conference champs in 1987 played in the decade when the Lakers versus Celtics rivalry was most fierce. Indeed, the Lakers were about the only thing to go wrong for the Celtics in this season, handing them their only loss in the old Boston Garden on December 12, 1986.
Wait. Didn't they lose two home games that year?
Yes, they did, but one of the losses was on a neutral court in Hartford, Connecticut to the Washington Bullets. So technically, Boston lost just one time on its home floor, and that to the team that would beat them for the NBA title, the Lakers.
All in all, this was one of the most impressive bodies of work for a home team in NBA history, though it is overshadowed in all things by the 1985-1986 Celtics, widely considered the best team ever. After the loss in December to the Lakers, the Celtics ended the season without losing again on the parquet.
Longest home winning streak: 29 games
This Bulls team lost to Miami for the first time at home in December, but that's OK; they got the Heat back in the Eastern Finals en route to their second-straight title.
This team has a high place in NBA history, but it is the unfortunate victim of overshadowing by the preceding Bulls team. The 1995-96 team is famed for winning an NBA-record 72 games and beginning MJ's iconic comeback...poor '96-'97 team.
The team that won 32 straight between their two losses at home deserves so much better.
Longest home winning streak: 32 games
Strong crowds graced the Cavaliers for the entirety of LeBron James' tenure, and the team's record in the 2008-2009 season showed it.
The Cavaliers opened with 23-straight wins at home before a loss to the Lakers in February, and they threatened to tie the all-time record with a 40-1 home season. A one-point overtime loss in the season finale to the 76ers kept Cleveland from entering a tie for that all-time mark.
The impressive regular-season mark was cheapened when the Cavs, truly built for a championship, gave up home-court advantage to the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals by losing Game 1 of the series. The Magic would take the series in six and move on to the NBA Finals, leaving LeBron short of the Larry O'Brien Trophy yet again.
Longest home winning streak: 23 wins
Jordan's comeback parade ended all roses in 1996, and the lead up was just as good. Perhaps the most impressive stat on this entire slideshow is this: the Bulls didn't lose a home game during this season until April 8.
That's a staggering 37-straight home wins to start the season before a one-point loss to the Hornets.
Incidentally, Chicago also had a chance to tie the 40-1 home record in their final game at home, which ended in a one-point loss as well.
Let's sum that up: Chicago was two well-placed baskets away from completing the 41-0 home slate.
Again, these are stats that boggle the mind.
Longest home winning streak: 37 games (!)
The popularly-regarded best team of all-time is the only team to ever win 40 home games in a season on the way to beating the Rockets in the Finals.
The Celtics' lone loss came on December 6 against Portland, which was followed by 31-straight wins at the Boston Garden to end the season.
Tack on a 10-0 home record in the postseason, which ended in the adulation of an NBA championship, and you have the greatest season ever compiled for a home team: 50-1.
Longest home winning streak: 31-straight regular-season wins (41 total)