The 2020 NBA Championship was a story of trials and tribulations for the Los Angeles Lakers as they overcame several hurdles to win the franchise’s 17th title.
The Lakers endured a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and were then subjected to an extended stay at the Walt Disney World bubble in order to finish the 2019-20 season. Although Los Angeles ultimately prevailed, it was a bittersweet celebration as they were unable to celebrate with Lakers Nation in the fan-less bubble.
Although the team will happily take a championship, head coach Frank Vogel admitted their run did not feel complete. However, he also added that he was looking forward to seeing fans in seats ahead of their Game 3 matchup against the Phoenix Suns.
“It was somewhat of a void in the experience last year being able to have these moments and a roaring crowd at Staples Center, but it’s just the nature of the pandemic. We can’t put too much thought into that, but I am excited about having a few more fans tonight. I’m looking forward to a lot of arenas in the NBA with the exception of the section behind each bench. They’re packed houses.”
Vogel added, however, that Staples Center not having as many fans as other arenas isn’t ideal and he hopes that will change soon.
“It’s somewhat of a disadvantage to not have that in our home games, but hopefully as time goes by in these playoffs, we get more and more fans and reach that full capacity of near full capacity.”
The crowd was a factor in the Lakers’ win against the Suns as they injected life into the team, especially in the fourth quarter when the team was rolling. Anthony Davis credited the fans at Staples Center for giving L.A. a boost throughout the night and acknowledged they would need the same type of atmosphere to take Game 4.
While it was good to see the fans in attendance cheer their hearts out, the Lakers are still at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the other markets as other cities have opened up their arenas at near or full capacity. California Governor Newsom has plans to fully lift any restrictions in the middle of June, so hopefully the Purple and Gold can advance far enough for them to see a sold-out Staples Center.
California targeting June 15 to lift all restrictions
The state of California has been targeting June 15 to fully reopen its economy which presumably means Staples Center will be able to open up its doors to a full capacity crowd. June 15 would roughly put the Lakers somewhere in the second round assuming they are able to take care of business in Round 1.
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