SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — It’s been 277 days since the Warriors played at Chase Center. It is a night of firsts for the players, staff, and the media.
From the stands, it sounded like a game, and on the court, it looked like a game, especially with Steph Curry back in action.READ MORE: Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Touts Basic Income at Mountain View Rally
It just wasn’t the kind of game anyone’s used to. Coach Steve Kerr spoke to the media via Zoom before tipoff.
“It’s a strange atmosphere out on the court, and it’ll be weird tonight to play a game without our fans out there,” he said.
The Warriors, playing their first game since the NBA shutdown last March, defeated the Denver Nuggets 107-105 with Curry scoring 10 points and Kent Bazemore, who rejoins the team this year after signing a free agent contract, chipping in a team-high 13 points. Star Draymond Green and NBA No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman did not dress for the game after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.
Steph Curry took his tunnel shot to a new level on Saturday:
Inside the Chase Center, the normally bustling concourse level was eerily quiet with concessions closed, and the bar in The United Club was also shut down. The space was turned into one of several media workspaces.READ MORE: National Park Service Proposes Parking Fees at Popular Bay Area Beaches
Chase center was also divided into different zones to keep groups apart.
All media members were rapid tested for COVID on-site prior to entering the arena. The process took about one hour.
“We come in here and we test like crazy every single day, we have an amazing group of healthcare workers who come in here and test us and keep us safe and we’re very grateful for them,” said Kerr.
Warriors DJ D Sharp entertained at halftime. A few family and friends were allowed in the stands for Saturday night’s game.
Event Presentation Executive Producer Shawn Bennett said the team worked to recreate the same energy and excitement of a pre-pandemic game.MORE NEWS: CVS Stores Roll Out Pfizer Booster Shots Across Bay Area
“I think for the fans at home they really can’t tell much of a difference, because we are adding in the crowd noise,” said Bennett. “One of the goals for us was to try to create that atmosphere for the players so that everything stayed normal for them to be able to perform at their peak.”