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February 20, 2014

‘Loud City’ helps fuel Thunder momentum

NORMAN — From his seat in section 101 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Frank Crawford can see all the action.

Whether it’s coach Scott Brooks pacing the sidelines or Serge Ibaka swatting a shot into the stands on the other end of the court, the Oklahoma City native has a bird’s eye view at each Thunder game.

However, it’s not the view that keeps Crawford coming back to every home game. It’s the feeling of being in “Loud City” on those nights when the Thunder are in the midst of a stunning comeback, Kevin Durant is knocking down 3-pointers from 30 feet out, Russell Westbrook is throwing down monster dunks and the entire arena gets swept up in the hysteria.

“It’s electric,” Crawford said. “It raises the hair on the back of your neck. The crowd gets into it. You can barely hear yourself think and talk. You can’t talk to your neighbor. All you can really do is clap, cheer, yell and feel that little tingling sensation. So when they are on a roll, the crowd is on a roll with them.”

This has become a common occurrence at Oklahoma City games for the past four years as the team and its fan base have formed a symbiotic relationship, each feeding off the other.

“First, it helps you get into the game,” Choctaw’s Shawn Norman said. “It helps the players get into the game, and you can see that. When you see the players responding to the crowd, you want to get into the game as a fan.”

According to Dr. Kyle Toal, a cardiovascular surgeon at the Norman Heart Hospital, this is all part of the multidimensional model of momentum.

“I don’t think the fans plays a role in home court advantage,” Toal said, “but I think it does play a role in momentum. There is a physiological principle we learned in medical school called self efficacy. All it is the belief that you’re going to perform well. It so happens self-efficacy is determined by external factors.”

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