Cheering at a game can hurt your team: Difference between cheering on offense vs. defense
Cheering at a game is great fun — but it's important to know WHEN to cheer to avoid hurting your own team.
In a typical game, most episodes of very loud cheering begin immediately following a score. When the good guys make that key basket — Crowd Goes Wild. Problem is: the thing that immediately follows any made basket is, naturally, defense.
The net effect is that much of the very loud cheering in a typical game happens when the home team is on defense.
And that's bad news for the home team.
If you cheer too loudly when your team is on defense, you're hurting your team if the place gets too loud for them to hear each other on the court. Modern NBA defenses depend heavily on communication. Brad Stevens often presses this point on the players: COMMUNICATE ON DEFENSE! — it's the only way to manage the complex coverages, rotations, screen-negotiations and cross-coverages that define a solid D these days.(This is especially true for defense-first teams like the Celtics.)
If the players can't hear each other because you're shouting your guts out, then they can't defend as well. The quieter fans are on defense, the better their team will likely play on that side of the court.
On the other hand, if you cheer for your team when they're on offense — the situation is exactly reversed. Now, you can actually help your team by shouting! Making LOTS of noise on offense makes it that much harder for the defense to defend. Good, right?
Don't worry about disturbing your own team's O — offense doesn't require nearly as much on-court inter-player communication as defense does.
Bottom line: Knowing when to cheer and when to be quiet(er) can make a big difference in a play or two per given game — sometimes the difference between victory and defeat. It's probably the most important thing you can do as a fan that might actually influence what happens on the court.