Home advantage, historically the holy grail for any NBA team with plans to go far in the playoffs, is another aspect of the game that has faltered in 2021, even as pandemic basketball turned into post-pandemic basketball transforms.

The basic rules remained the same as in the regular season: you win more games, you earn the additional home game if necessary. Unlike last season, when all the playoff hopefuls were driven into the Orlando bubble, there was at least one home advantage.

But there is home, and then there is home. The Utah Jazz enjoyed the latter in Round Two Games 1 and 2 and won both, winning Game 2 with 117-111 on Thursday night. The Clippers will have to wait until a possible Game 6 to take advantage of a full Staples Center, as Games 3 and 4 take place on Saturday and Monday, the latter one day before the state of California officially reopens.

In the meantime, if you have any ideas on how cardboard cutouts can help reproduce the Vivint Arena noise level, the Clippers executives are sure to be there.

It’s the same problem the Clippers had in the first round against Dallas and the same problem the Lakers had in their first round series against Phoenix. At home, where the California tier system regulates how many fans are allowed to enter the building, they had a little more than a third of a full building at best. On the street, they were faced with all the frenzy of a playoff crowd, with claps of thunder, rally cloths, and waves of noise that make a difference when one team storms and the other stumbles.

Is it unfair? Maybe. But do we really have to spell it? Pandemic regulations and protocols are answers to factors far more important than anyone’s home benefit.

Utah has welcomed a small number of fans since the season began in December – 1,932 per game through January, then up to 3,902 for six games, 4,912 for one game, 5,546 through mid-April, and 6,506 per game from May 1 through at the end of the regular season. The Clippers played home games in an empty arena until April 1, when a limited number of fans were allowed in. They managed to accommodate a few more fans when L.A. County rose to the yellow league on May 4, but their largest regular season attendance during that time span was 3,275 against the Lakers on May 6.

Her four home games in the Dallas series were 6,117, 6,885, 7,428 and 7,342. Their games in Dallas have drawn 17,705, 17,781 and 18,324 draws. Game 1 on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City drew 6,007, and the energy and noise certainly didn’t hurt the Jazz in their 112-109 win and the Clippers’ tired legs in the second half.

It can make a difference. At the end of the first half of Thursday evening, it was heard on the TV screen, the noise level spiked as Donovan Mitchell waved a 3-pointer near the sideline, and then rose even further as Paul George of the Clippers – a special one Antagonist, just past Virtue to be PG – dribbled off the foot and lost the ball. If Joe Ingles had made his 3-pointer on the buzzer after George’s turnover, the roof might have fallen off the arena. In any case, the ears probably rang for a while afterwards.

To be honest, Utah fans are also known for exaggerated heckling. The most recent incident occurred in the first round and resulted in three jazz fans being banned indefinitely for making racist statements against the family of Memphis star Ja Morant. The home team may welcome the support for the most part, but there are times when they flinch.

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“With our audience, I think they have an idea when we need them more and when we need them most,” said jazz coach Quin Snyder before Game 2. “So if we miss 20-a few straight shots, I know that everyone wants the next shot to go, but they are still active. They’re still loud, supportive, and maybe even more because your team may have problems at some point. ”

“There are times when teams on the other end crave it,” said Snyder. “These energies and emotions, even if they are not positive, can be used to create a higher level.”

That’s pretty much the way the Clippers played it. On the first round in Dallas, after losing two at home and walking into an arena that was full and loud and full of fans ready for the kill, they were not only happy but also wanted to shut them up . After the Clippers even won games 3 and 4 in Dallas for that series, Guardian Reggie Jackson called it the “bad guy mentality that came up trying to be a spoiler.” … When we take to the streets, we hug and enjoy the idea of ​​loving being hated. ”

It goes on as you might expect. George was the target, starting with his 4-for-17 shooting performance Tuesday night, and has heard chants from “Pandemic P”, a nod to his performance in the bladder last year. When he was introduced before Game 2, the boos were enthusiastic.

“I don’t like this part,” said George on Tuesday evening. “All respect. I’ve had good games here, I’ve had bad games here. That’s part of this game, to be honest. The crowd will be involved. … As an opposing player you somehow want that. ”

What wins in the end, the positive energy or the negative energy? It depends on the players how it should.

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