The annual NBA GM survey revealed that 37.9% of the respondents thought the Cavaliers have the best home court advantage in the league. It was good enough for first on the list, followed by Utah, the Lakers, and Portland. After piling up a 39-2 record at home during the 2008-2009 season it's no wonder that the Wine and Gold topped the list. LeBron and Co. are almost unstoppable at the Q.
Some of this has to do with the players' comfort of being home, some has to do with the environment created by the fans. No doubt Clevelanders deserve credit for packing the arena for every game, raising their voices in unison and creating an imposing atmosphere for the Cavs' foes. And what the crowds lack in organic vocal excitement the team makes up for with endless invocations to get up and be loud, even if that, regrettably, includes the hokey practice of flashing the Steelers' or University of Michigan's logo on the Jumbotron.
That's the American way with crowds. Save for tense moments, swings in momentum, postseason affairs, or huge plays, we're content to sit and watch and cheer at appropriate junctures.
Monday night the Cavs hosted Olympiacos, a pro team from Greece, in exhibition play. The Q was full but not near capacity, it being preseason and all, and the crowd, the Cavs fans at least, acted just how you would expect them to at a preseason game. Then there were the Greeks.
It was hard to miss them. Half an hour before game time the small but vocal Olympiacos contingent, resplendent in their red and white striped jerseys, sang, chanted, danced, and waved flags. It didn't stop during the game, even as their squad was roundly whooped by the Wine and Gold during the first half to the tune of a 60-44 lead.
At half some friends and I ventured outside in the smoking area where, and this will be shocking, there were more than a few Greeks. Don't know why I was surprised since looking back it seemed that every Greek I walked past religiously coughed every three steps. An exaggeration? Maybe, but not by much.
Outside in the brisk Cleveland night four Olympiacos supporters were singing. I mean, nonstop, top-of-their-lungs, in-unison singing. The Cavs fans in the area seemed mesmerized by the spectacle. At the very least, they seemed curious.
Hey, look at the that team spirit! Wow, that is some pride right there. What a display of support for their team!
Of course, they were singing in Greek, so no one knew what the hell they were saying, but everyone seemed roundly impressed with their fervor. I asked my friend, a Greek himself, if he could translate. He spouted some mumbo jumbo about how they were talking about women. OK. I asked his father for a real translation.
He smiled and said, "They're saying that all your mothers are whores."
And what about the song they were singing before?
"They were saying, 'You're fucked on the floor, and if you want more, we'll give it to you on the way out.'"
It was then that a young woman in a LeBron jersey tried to start an "MVP" chant to combat the Olympiacos chorus. I walked by and said, "That just doesn't seem like a good enough response to their chant."
"Of course it is, we have the MVP and they don't," she replied.
"Do you know what they're saying?" I asked.
The Cavs went 39-2 at home last year with ravenous crowds — a fan base influential enough to merit being part of the biggest home court advantage in the NBA. And to think, we did it all without broaching mother jokes. Just imagine if we were more like the Olympiacos fans.