By: Ryan Heuer – Intern, Sports Media Relations
The Sioux Falls Skyforce has broken several records in the past two seasons. Their latest record came with some outside help.
It started last season when Sioux Falls set the NBA D-League mark for best regular season record at 40-10. That momentum carried the Skyforce to their first D-League championship.
Earning home court advantage helped as they were able to host the decisive Game 3 of the D-League Finals, where they held the Los Angeles D-Fenders to 63 points in a rout.
While the personnel this season isn’t nearly the same—the Skyforce have a completely different coaching staff and only four players from the championship season—the fans have remained a constant, and they’ve helped Sioux Falls grab a share of yet another record.
The Skyforce hosted the Texas Legends on Jan. 7 and came away with a 130-118 win. It was their 20th straight regular season home win dating back to February 2016. That tied the Idaho Stampede for the longest such streak in D-League history. Idaho’s streak spanned the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
The streak started Feb. 19, 2016 against Erie. Sioux Falls won its last 10 home games that season, and its first 10 this year. The streak ended Friday against those same Erie BayHawks, 125-118.
Of course, basketball games are played and won on the hardwood, but the Skyforce will tell you they couldn’t have done it without their fans.
“They’re the cream of the crop,” point guard Bubu Palo said. “Every night they show up. We usually get good crowds, but even on nights when it’s not as full, they still bring good energy. We’re able to feed off of them. They’re passionate.”
The advantage the fans give is proven in the numbers. During their 20-game home winning streak, Sioux Falls went just 13-8 on the road. The Skyforce outscored opponents by an incredible 17.3 points per game at home during their streak, scoring an average of 114.9 points each night while allowing just 98.6.
In its 21 road games in that time, Sioux Falls’ offensive output dropped to 109.8 points per game, and the team allowed an average of 108.
Thirteen games in the home winning streak were decided by double digits, including a 49-point win (Feb. 23, 2016 against Fort Wayne), a 33-point win (March 4, 2016 against Grand Rapids) and five other wins of at least 20 points.
“You have to understand that energy is real,” small forward Jabril Trawick said. “It exists. When you get our fans out their cheering you on, going at the referees, they’re excited. When you’re down, it puts some life in you. If you’re tired, it makes you push through.”
Palo and Trawick are two of the players who have been in Sioux Falls for the duration of the streak, center Keith Benson and point guard Briante Weber being the others.
One game from the midpoint of the regular season, the Skyforce lead the Southwest Division and trail the D-Fenders by a game for the top spot in the Western Conference. They were the last team to lose a home game and have the best home record in the league at 11-1.
There’s a long way to go yet in the season, and the Skyforce will grind through it with the help of their fans.
“This is one of the premier places to be as far as how much the fans are into it and how much they support us,” Trawick said. “When I first came last year, I realized that they really buy into the Skyforce culture. They show genuine support. They enjoy coming to games and they enjoy being here. It’s definitely something we appreciate.”
Season tickets and flex packs are on sale now. Discounts and benefits are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, please contact a Skyforce representative visiting the front office at 2131 S. Minnesota Avenue or by calling at (605) 332-0605.