Sure the NBA playoff games have been close, but the Western Conference three-seed vs. six-seed matchup has brought forth the same result as in the Eastern Conference. On the Atlantic coast, the Philadelphia 76ers have pounded the Brooklyn Nets in two consecutive games. On the left coast, the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t been to the playoffs since Rihanna released A Girl Like Me, are currently up 2-0 on the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The Brooklyn Nets suck at super teams
An advantage the Kings have over the Warriors is their home arena. The Kings only won 48 games this season but that was enough for the No. 3 seed in the West. The Warriors won four fewer games and found themselves in the sixth seed. That postseason Sacramento crowd has laid dormant for 17 years, but those who remember those teams that featured Chris Webber and Peja Stojaković knew that Golden 1 Center would be in a frenzy for this series.
The excitement in that arena is similar to what was not long ago the best home-court advantage possibly in professional sports. Oracle Arena earned the nickname “Roracle” because of the intensity that the fans of Oakland brought to every game. Now down 2-0, the wine, cheese, and yacht crowd that has helped bring pain to Downtown San Francisco, is going to have to load up on cappuccino to give the Warriors a boost at home.
Warriors missing their old home?
Financially, it made sense for the Warriors to leave their aging home for San Francisco. What is currently known as Oakland Arena opened in 1966. That is even older than the current Madison Square Garden in New York.
The noise in Oakland was deafening not only when the Warriors won three NBA championships from 2015-18, but also during their upset of the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks in 2007 and the Run TMC years. It was a party in Oakland when ownership cared to put out a decent product, but once the Warriors became truly special it was time to maximize profit.
They moved to the San Francisco waterfront Chase Center for the 2019-20 COVID-19 interrupted season. The 2021-22 season was the first in which the building operated at full capacity without interruption. During that season the Warriors generated $800 million in revenue with a regional sports network deal nowhere near that of the top American professional sports franchises.
All of that money is great for Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, but just last month Stephen Curry said on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dubs Talk podcast that he wants to play one more game at the old Oakland building. He knows quite well what it felt like to hit consecutive 3-pointers in that building.
That is what happens when a team puts its home stadium in a different city. The Kings built their new stadium less than six miles from its previous site and their fans haven’t missed a beat, despite the extended postseason drought. Come Thursday, the Warriors will desire a home-court boost from the people still employed after recent tech-industry downsizing.
Game 3 will most certainly be a home-court advantage for the Warriors, but for the first time in recent memory, their crowd will not compare to the one they face on the road. A road crowd that they can reach by bus.
I hope Lacob and Guber enjoy their Scrooge McDuck money while remembering the sound that used to come from their home stadium.
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