NBA question-direction of play (defending which basket)

I have noticed something in NBA games that I cannot find an answer for.

In NFL football, the winner of the coin toss gets to decide if they will kick or receive, and the loser gets to pick which end zone they defend. Clear enough.

I have followed my NBA team for 20 years. From the “TV” point of view, in home games they almost always defend the basket to the right in the first half, then switch at half.

But, in about 1-2 games per year, it is the other way (defending the left basket first). The announcers never make mention this. Since there’s no coin toss, how is the ‘direction’ of play determined? And if the teams have a choice, why isn’t it closer to 50% each way?

Is there even a reason for this? Is there some rarely talked about rule that I have never heard of?

Maybe the announcers are on the opposite side of the court? BTW, thanks for asking, now I’m curious!

The visiting team selects before warming up. Typically well before tv coverage even starts. They switch at halftime. NBA Rule 4 Section 1 (PDF) As to why it’s usually one way, I assume it’s because it doesn’t really have any impact at the NBA level, but occasionally someone decides it either does or just wants a change.

When they’re going the ‘wrong’ way, are the benches switched?

You normally attack away from your bench in the 1st half and towards your bench in the 2nd half.

Thanks. That’s funny that it’s a rule that doesn’t seem to be thought about too much. Because for the games I watch it really is about 1 game a year that there is a switch.

As you say, there’s really no difference in play. It’s not like you have the wind at your back or anything!:slight_smile:

No. My team always has the left bench (from the TV view).

Which makes me wonder why some teams use the right bench as their home bench. As Oldeb says, someone must think it makes a difference.

Athletes. What a superstitious lot!

I’ve noticed that this is usually true in NBA games, whereas in college, it’s the exact opposite. Does anyone know why college does it differently than the NBA?

College guys shouldn’t have to run further. :D. I really dunno.

Those one or two times a year are probably against the Spurs or Pacers. It does make a difference, although of course it makes the opposite difference during the other half, so there’s that. But the sideline will always know more about the other teams’ playcalls than the guys on the court, especially the less cerebral ones. So having your defense in front of you down the stretch is a different situation from having your offense in front of you in terms of how much the sideline can influence the play (e.g. “stay home, JR… STAY HOME JR AHH JESUS”).