Traditionally, at least in the last few seasons, the Pistons have languished in the bottom of the NBA standings. However, another category that they have been struggling in is home attendance, with the Pistons averaging one of the smallest attendances in the league.
Here are the numbers:
The Pistons were the hottest team in the NBA over the weekend, before the red hot Atlanta Hawks, leaders of the East and currently on an eight-game streak of their own, came to the Palace and dismantled the Pistons 106-103. While the scoreline indicates a close game, the reality was that the Pistons were blown off the court in the first half by Atlanta's crisp ball movement and perfect defense. It took a late hot surge from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and excellent rim protection from Anthony Tolliver no less, to really make this game close.
Despite the lopsided first half, the 18,859 fans in attendance decided to stick around and see if these new Pistons really were legit, something Stan Van Gundy noticed:
"I thought it was great, because the way we played in the first half, they could have very well just given up on us. I thought they tried to push us forward there at the end of the game and give us some life. It was nice to hear and I think it helped our guys."
Fans certainly would have been forgiven for leaving early after the display the Pistons served up, but the fact that they stayed really shows the renewed interest in this basketball team from the city, also evidenced by the 19,301 who then showed up to witness the Pistons 98-93 win over the Brooklyn Nets the next night. However, the biggest thing appears to be fun amongst the group, something Jonas Jerebko noted.
"It's fun, man. It's fun back at The Palace. I've seen it a few times, but it's fun seeing it two days in a row. The city is really coming behind us. We're trying to show them a good product that's easy to sell. I think it's pretty fun to watch us play right now."
Home court advantage is a key component in the NBA, and the crowd atmosphere can really go a long way to create some level of intimidation amongst travelling supporters and teams. Take the Toronto game in December, when the Palace was packed, but mostly with #WeTheNorth hooligans, who were allowed to waltz on center court after the game and commemorate the occasion. The Palace now needs to become a fortress, here are some other players on the newfound support.
Brandon Jennings on what keeps the fans coming back:
"With us going on that win streak and playing hard, I think it just brings the fans. It's a blue-collar state, so they enjoy hard work."
Kyle Singler on building a fortress (forming a f*cking wall if you will):
"We need to win at home more than we have been. Just in general, we have got to play with the type of confidence at home, play with a little bit of an edge."
Brandon Jennings on crowd influence:
"Especially with the help of the fans, it's definitely going to be tough when we get into those stretches where the games get close and the fans get loud. Just the whole atmosphere, it gets us going."
Greg Monroe on what the fan support means:
"It definitely feels good. We always are grateful for the fan support, so it's definitely good to be in a pretty much packed house and to get the win."
*All quotes from Pistons.com.