SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Who could blame Steph Curry and his Golden State Warrior teammates if they were feeling a little extra boost of emotions Friday morning as they began preparing for a key evening showdown with the Denver Nuggets.
For the first time since the COVID-19 league shut down in March 2020, there will be fans back in the stands at the Chase Center in San Francisco.READ MORE: BART Service Nears Pre-Pandemic Level Monday as Hours Expand
“We’re going to enjoy the atmosphere, I’ve talked about it before, it’s definitely noticeable if you have even just 1,000 fans in the seats,” Curry said. “It makes a huge difference in the atmosphere.”
The Warriors enter the game in 10th place in the NBA Western Conference — holding on to the final spot in the play-in tournament to gain entry to the post-season.
They have nine home games remaining on the schedule with just four road contests including back-to-back games in New Orleans.
It’s a favorable lineup, one that could allow the team to move up in the standings. Golden State is 29-30 while Portland — which currently is in sixth, the final non-play-in game spot — has a 32-26 mark.
A boisterous home crowd will play a major role in getting the team to the postseason.READ MORE: 4 Die in Helicopter Crash in Colusa County North of Sacramento
“We’ve had a whole season now where we haven’t hand any fans,” Curry said. “You’re kind of sick looking at the blue tarp. You want to see some bodies in there. We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves … looking too far ahead in terms of how many games we have at home. We got a big game Friday against a good Denver team we got to be ready for.”
Sixth man Kelly Oubre Jr. agrees with Curry.
“Fans bring an extra set of emotions and passion to the game,” he said. “So I’m going to be super excited to get back out and perform in front of them. Hear their chants, hear their cheers. It’s going to be super exciting.”
Under the current COVID-19 restrictions in San Francisco, the team can only use 35 percent of the Chase Center’s 18,000 seats. But for Friday night’s game, there will be just 1,700 fans and those tickets sold out fast.
Fans will need either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-test that was administered within the last 48 hours. However, fans sitting within 30 feet of the court will need both.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Digital Payment Company Square to Buy Afterpay in $29 Billion Deal
There will be no-contact admission and concessions will need to be ordered through a cellphone app.