SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors are playing postseason games in San Francisco for the first time in 58 years, but it’s no surprise new memories are rekindling those at their former home across the bay.
After all, if it weren’t for the frenzied crowds at Oracle Arena in Oakland that helped the Warriors to five straight NBA Finals appearances, the team might not be playing in its state-of-the-art downtown digs. at Chase Center.
“I think of them both very fondly, and I have fond memories of each other and hope to create great memories here,” team owner Joe Lacob said recently. “But I really appreciate all the great new things it has and I think it’s going to be one of the great arenas.”
When the Warriors moved three seasons ago to their new venue across the bay, many lamented the decision, wondering how the new $1.6 billion super-stadium would compare to the surroundings exuberant from his old home. For years, the Oakland Arena has been considered one of the NBA’s greatest home court perks due to the cheerful atmosphere and energetic fan base.
After two seasons in which the Warriors failed to qualify for the playoffs, Chase Center finally gets its chance as a postseason stopover.
Warriors superstar Steph Curry commemorated the occasion by wearing special shoes for Game 1 of the team’s first-round series against the Denver Nuggets. The black sneakers, named after Oakland, were a nod to Oracle.
“We hadn’t made a playoff since Oracle, so it was kind of a passing of the torch,” Curry said.
The Warriors won the series in five games, MVP chants echoing throughout Chase as Curry strode toward the foul line in the dying moments, yellow and blue streamers falling from the rafters at the final horn.
“There were some great moments,” Curry said, assessing the atmosphere of the first series. “It’s still a young building and environment and trying to find its identity, but it was loud at times…It will only continue to get better as the stakes get higher and higher.”
Comparing Chase and Oracle at this early stage is like “comparing apples and oranges,” Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, an Oakland native, said.
“These are two totally different sites, two totally different demographics,” he said. “All good things must come to an end, and so I mean Oracle has come and gone, that was what it was and so now onto bigger and better things.”
Bigger and better, at least in terms of ambiance, is about to arrive. The Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night in Game 3 of what has been a rowdy series.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr expects Chase Center to be “the loudest it’s ever been” for the next two games. Game 4 is Monday night.
At Oracle, the crowd could generate an extraordinary level of noise, helped in part by a concave ceiling that echoed the sound of the arena. It was getting so loud that onlookers couldn’t hear their own thoughts and some were bringing the ear…