As the Los Angeles Clippers prepare to depart on a season-long eight game road trip, the players could be forgiven if they're asking themselves, "Aren't we already in the middle of a long road trip?" No sport has a more distinctive home court advantage than basketball. Just look at the home and away records of NBA teams if you don't believe me. There is only one team in the Western Conference with a losing record (the New Orleans Hornicans at 7-15). There are only four in the Eastern Conference. That means that 25 of 30 NBA teams are .500 or better at home. On the other side of the coin, there are only seven teams in the NBA with winning road records. The home court advantage in the NBA is huge (particularly during the regular season). But ask yourself why. Obviously the home crowd is one factor. Having 20,000 or so people screaming for you can raise your energy level, and having those same 20,000 booing you might not feel so great (though there are a few players who have been able to use that as motivation as well). But it goes beyond the cheering fans. Travel and rest are the real story of the home court advantage. The home team is sleeping in their own bed, going through their standard routine to get to practice and to the game. Meanwhile the visitors are spending all their free time on airplanes, in buses, and sleeping in hotels. It's luxury all the way of course, with charter planes and five-star hotels. But an airplane is an airplane, and no matter how you trick it out, they aren't designed for power forwards. You know all those "Got 'em" photos DeAndre Jordan takes of his sleeping teammates? Ever wonder why they're sleeping? Because they're exhausted, and you can bet the little sleep they are getting on flights is not as restorative as the home team is getting in their comfy beds.
The Clippers 17 game road trip
Clips Nation | Jan 29