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Inside the Numbers: Home-court advantage

Last season 22 of the 30 NBA teams had winning records in their home games. The eight that did not: the Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.

Let’s start this article with a couple of trivia questions about teams playing home games in the NBA:

  1. Can you name the four teams that have, in each of the last ten seasons, had a winning record when providing hospitality?
  2. Can you name the one NBA team that has had a winning record at home for 27 consecutive seasons?

(The answers to both questions will appear later in this article.)

Looking at the home records of the 30 NBA teams over the past five seasons (2011-12 to 2015-16), the San Antonio Spurs have won the most games, 168, an average of 33.6  per season. The fewest wins in this time period is held by the 76ers with 71.

Following are the number of wins by each NBA team over the past five seasons, on their own court.

168-San Antonio
155-Oklahoma City
149-L.A. Clippers
145-Golden State, Miami
142-Memphis
137-Houston, Indiana
134-Atlanta
133-Portland
130-Chicago
123-Dallas
119-Toronto
117-Denver
116-Boston, Utah
108-Cleveland
106-Washington
100-N.Y. Knicks
98-New Orleans, Phoenix
97-Detroit
96-Brooklyn
94-Milwaukee
93-Charlotte, L.A. Lakers
89-Sacramento
88-Orlando
80-Minnesota
71-Philadelphia

Let’s take it a step further.  Some teams play well at home and on the road, while others don’t win much at all. There are, however, a few teams that seem to have success as the host but not much as the away team.

For example, the Portland Trailblazers have won 133 games at in Rip City in the past five seasons (Top 10 in the league) and only 77 road games. The difference of 56 wins is the largest disparity in the league over the last half-decade.

The Utah Jazz are the only other team that has a 50-win disparity between home and away wins over the past five years; they have won 116 games at home and only 66 on the road, a difference of 50.

Six more teams have a 40-win (or more) disparity in wins in the past five campaigns: Houston, Indiana, Oklahoma City and San Antonio (all +44 i) and Denver and Memphis (+40). Smallest disparity  since 2011-12 belong to the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota T-Wolves, both are at +18.

Time to answer those trivia questions from above. First, the four teams that have a winning record in home games in each of the last 10 seasons are Dallas, Houston, Indiana and San Antonio. Both the T’Wolves and Sacramento have had only one season since 2006-07 where they had a winning record hosting, fewest in the league.

The Indiana Pacers are the answer to the second question. They have had a winning record in home games 27 straight seasons, tops in the league. The second longest streak belongs to San Antonio at 19.

Sacramento tops the league with the most consecutive seasons with a losing record in home games. They have been under .500 at home for nine straight seasons, the longest streak in the NBA. Three teams (Lakers, Knicks and 76ers) each have been under .500 the last three seasons, tied for second for the longest streak of losing season in home games.

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