"And you're the sixth man!" blurts Blazers longtime PA announcer Mark Mason 41 times a year to the average crowd of 19,317 fans who have visited the Moda Center to watch their beloved Blazers play.
Many times when you tune to an NBA game at home, you can observe hundreds of empty seats in the 100 level of an arena. Whether it be Brooklyn, Atlanta, or Memphis, to a fan who attends only Blazer games at the Moda Center, an empty arena can be a shocking sight.
While playing at home is extremely beneficial to any team for many logistical reasons, having an arena packed with many screaming fans who can will a team to victory at the end of the game is a huge advantage that few NBA teams can boast. There's a reason why teams can play the same team at two different locations, keep the game close the entire game, and win their home game, but lose the game on the road.
When the Blazers play at the Moda Center they are 25-16, and when they play on the road they are 16-25. While the Blazers have been known as more of an offensive team among the league, that offense takes a step up when they play in front of the Rip City faithful.
Offensively the Blazers have an rating of 109.7 at home and 105.9 on the road. While 3.8 points per 100 possessions doesn't seem like a lot, that can make the difference of being a top-5 team offensively or a team at the bottom half of the league. They also defend 3 points per 100 possessions better at home than on the road while turning the ball over less.
While they seem unimportant, the home games that an NBA team plays during the regular season are the games that can determine if they make the playoffs or not. In some teams cases, winning a random home game in January is the difference between having home court in a playoffs series, and having to play your first two games on the road. Having home court in the playoffs is huge because the opposing team would have to win a road game which is very hard to do.
People may remember the game the Blazers played versus the Nuggets or Rockets in March, but what isn't commonly referred to is the Blazers winning the home games that they had to so that those games could mean something down the line. Those two late March games in particular are good examples of games that are winnable in Portland, but could be more devastating losses if they played on the road. Just Nurkic played a huge role in the game against Denver, but if that were to take place in the "Mile High City", he'd be getting booed and his confidence wouldn't have been as high.
For a team with the reputation of being one of the more underwhelming franchises in the playoffs, the Blazers certainly do not disappoint at home. While the Blazers seem to not be able to get it done on the road, playing at home has led to many memorable moments in the playoffs.
The Blazers won two big home games in what would be a losing effort in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks (One of those games was the "Brandon Roy Game"). Two years ago, the Blazers ended the season 1-9 against the Memphis Grizzlies, with the win being game four. Ever since the beginning of the Mavericks series in 2011, the Blazers boast a 10-5 home playoff record, but a whopping 3-15 record on the road!
Winning two series while only winning a total of 3 home games during that span meant that the Blazers won their single road game and took care of their business at home.
From the regular season to the playoffs, playing at the Moda Center is a major advantage for the Blazers. Having a sold-out arena cheering them on every night certainly plays a major role in the Blazers success at home. While half of the games may seem meaningless, those 19,000+ fans a night has helped the Blazers make it to the playoffs and has given them a shot at the almighty Warriors.