Suffice to say, but the NBA has so far succeeded with its bubble plan at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The exhibition period was executed without a problem, providing optimism for when the NBA restart that launches Thursday night with a pair of games.
The Los Angeles Lakers looked like they did not miss a beat during their scrimmages, showing the same offensive potency and defensive grit they displayed during the regular season. Once noticeable difference in the games, though, was the lack of crowd noise and fan interaction.
“I miss the atmosphere of it, more than anything,” Alex Caruso said over the weekend. “Like I said, noticing the faces until I subbed out, I’m usually pretty locked in on the game. I’m a competitive guy, that’s how i play the game.
“Whatever I need to do to focus on winning, that’s what I’m doing. I think if anything I just miss the atmosphere. You miss the home crowd cheering after a steal, an and-1 or made three, or you miss the quiet celebration of only hearing your team chant or yell whenever you get an and-1 on the road.
“Stuff like that, it’s a different game, but at the same time it’s kind of the same.”
The NBA has been experimenting with several ideas to make the games seem as normal as possible, including possibly piping in sounds from NBA 2k. They also are going to implement virtual fans. Of course, there is no real substitute for the energy that a live crowd creates.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they will not get to sow the benefits of having home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but they will at least take solace in knowing that they appear more ready for games to resume than originally anticipated.
LeBron James talks no fans
One of the major advantages of having home-court advantage, especially in a playoff series, is the support a team gets from their home crowd. For L.A., they possess one of the most dedicated and rabid fan bases in the NBA, but that will be missed when the Lakers take the floor in Orlando.
Prior to the team’s matchup against the Clippers on Thursday, LeBron James said he and the rest of the roster owe it to the fans to play as well as possible.
“Everything is different and you have to be able to adjust to it. If it was a home game at Staples Center, it won’t have that feeling, because our fans give us so much energy and support, that we want to try and give that back to them on the floor,” James noted.
“At the same time, we know our fans back in L.A. and all over California and the world, are looking forward to seeing us play again. It’s still our job to go out and perform, because they’re still supporting us.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!