Home cookin’ won’t be equal for all NBA playoff teams

Home cookin’ won’t be equal for all NBA playoff teams

If the Lakers follow the Clippers protocols, Jack won’t have all 20,000 friends with him for their First Round games.
If the Lakers follow the Clippers protocols, Jack won’t have all 20,000 friends with him for their First Round games.
Image: AP

For the first time in two years, we might actually get to talk about home-court advantage in the NBA playoffs, but in a weird, 2021-ish kind of way.

More Americans are getting vaccinated, more fans are returning to the stands, and most stadiums are increasing their capacity limits for the first round. But each state has its own guidelines for reopening indoor facilities. So, do certain teams have a home court advantage?

You can bank on it. While no arena will be packed at full capacity, most series will have a fan imbalance. How does your team (sorry, Kings fans!) stack up?

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Jazz vs. Warriors/Grizzlies

Jazz vs. Warriors/Grizzlies

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Over the years, the raucous fans of Salt Lake City have given Utah a definitive home court advantage. That trend will likely continue when the Jazz face the No. 8 seed. The organization announced they will host 13,000 spectators in their 18,306 seat stadium.

Whoever faces the Jazz won’t have as many fans in their home arena. The Warriors only began welcoming supporters back last month at 35 percent capacity. That’s just a bit over 6,000 fans allowed to attend.

The Grizzlies don’t have Jazz-like number’s either. Although Memphis doubled their spectator limit to 40 percent for Wednesday’s Play-In game, that’s only 7,000 fans in FedExForum.

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Nuggets vs. Blazers

Nuggets vs. Blazers

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For the first round of the playoffs, Denver is increasing their capacity limit to 7,750 fans. But the Trail Blazers, who just began allowing fans on May 7, will continue to cap their games at 10 percent. That’s just under 2,000 fans, by far the lowest of any playoff team.

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Knicks vs. Hawks

Knicks vs. Hawks

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently gave both N.Y. basketball teams the go ahead to increase their capacity limits at the start of the postseason. As of now, the Knicks are the only other playoff team that will allow 13,000 fans.

The Hawks will allow more fans at their arena, too. But only 7,625. Both stadiums hold roughly 21,000.

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Clippers vs. Mavericks

Clippers vs. Mavericks

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Government officials in Texas and California have handled the pandemic in dramatically different ways. And the restrictions (or lack thereof) will be on display in the 4-5 matchup between the Clips and Mavs.

According to a report in The Dallas Morning News, the lower seed will be able to host a couple thousand more fans than the Clippers. Mark Cuban says his team has been given permission to pack the stands with at least 9,000 folks. Los Angeles, on the other hand, expects to have 5,000 to 7,000 in the Staples Center.

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Suns vs. Lakers

Suns vs. Lakers

Illustration for article titled Home cookin’ won’t be equal for all NBA playoff teams
Image: AP

Yes, the No. 2 seed in the West and surprise team of the NBA are underdogs in their first-round matchup. But Phoenix does have one thing going for them… attendance numbers. The Suns will host roughly 11,000 fans when the playoffs tip off this weekend. Will it be enough to beat LA? Who knows.

The Lakers haven’t formally announced their capacity limits. But the Clippers expect 5,000 to 7,000 butts in seats. Both teams share the Staples Center and will likely have the same guidance.

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76ers vs. Wizards/Pacers

76ers vs. Wizards/Pacers

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The top seed in the east will also have a massive home court advantage regardless of who they play. The Sixers plan to have a 50-percent cap, or around 10,000 fans for playoff games in South Philly.

As for the play in teams to be determined, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser approved a waiver to allow the District’s downtown arena to fill 25 percent for Wizards and Caps playoff games. That’s around 5,000 fans for basketball.

Indiana currently plays in front of 25 percent capacity as well, roughly 4,500 fans.

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Nets vs. Celtics

Nets vs. Celtics

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We know the Nets can host over 50 percent capacity like their neighbors in Manhattan, but the team hasn’t announced what number they’re targeting specifically. Whatever it is, it’ll dwarf the Celtics’ attendance.

Late last month, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker relaxed COVID restrictions to allow the C’s and B’s to fill the TD Garden at 25 percent in time for the playoffs. But that’s only 4,895 seats.

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Bucks vs. Heat

Bucks vs. Heat

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This is the only series where practically the same number of fans are allowed. Milwaukee and Miami will host 9,000 and 8,600 fans, respectively.

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