The Denver Nuggets are three games into the first round, and there are many reasons why it does not feel like the usual playoff environment. For starters, the Nuggets have put together two extremely lackluster performances to go down 1-2 in the first round against the Utah Jazz. They played so poorly in games 2 and 3 that it was almost hard to believe I was watching a playoff game and not an exhibition game where the team was resting their key players.
But another huge reason why Nuggets fans have not been subject to the usual playoff atmosphere is that the intensity, noise, and rowdiness that usually echoes throughout the arena from the home team’s fans is not there this season. As weird as it is for us to watch a game on TV without the typical commotion in the background, it must be that much weirder for the fans to play in an empty arena.
Paul Millsap took to social media prior to Game 1 to share a message to the fans, acknowledging that this season’s playoffs are going to be different without them present in the stands, but letting them know that he’s thinking about all of them that will be supporting from home.
It’s obviously hard to say whether or not the fans not being present have had any affect on the games so far. In the Nuggets’ series, Game 1 started off with a very playoff-like feel to it, with the Nuggets barely edging out the Jazz in overtime after Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray traded incredible shot after incredible shot for their respective teams. It was so intense in the last moments of that game that I often forgot there were no fans cheering from the stands. As far as Games 2 and 3, it’s hard to blame anything other than the Nuggets’ own deficiencies for their two blowout losses. Still, there were moments that I found myself thinking, if only the Nuggets could make a play that gets the crowd going...that might help turn things around.
Now all we can hope for as Nuggets fans is that the team feels our overwhelming support from afar and uses that to help turn this series around.