An interesting trend, as mentioned in the excerpt is how officiating can be biased in favor of the home team. According to game studies, referees tend to give the home team the benefit-of-the-doubt-calls more often than not, especially when factoring in crowd size. When referencing NBA officiating, the book states, “Traveling is whistled 15% less often against home than away players, but at the most attended games the home team is 28% less likely to be called for traveling.”
No doubt you can figure all playoff games played at Staples are of the sold-out variety, if all 18,000-plus seats are filled to capacity, could the crowd actually have an effect on ambiguous calls?
Hard to imagine a traditionally passé Lakers crowd becoming amped-up enough to get the officials to swing calls in favor of the Lakers, but I suppose it’s possible.
If the tables were turned however, considering some of the stadiums that have been challenging for the Lakers to win in, mainly Portland, Boston, Denver and to some degree Oklahoma City, not having home-court in a game seven situation is quite a disadvantage. A rambunctious crowd could definitely get to the officials, and we already know the new guidelines for calling technical fouls can be subjective.
It’s a good thing the Lakers have another weapon to counteract biased officiating as a result of home-court. Phil Jackson.