Remember that elderly couple who wrote a letter to the Chronicle complaining about the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field in Seattle? That probably didn’t have much effect on the “12s,” since they were already yelling as loudly as possible before the letter went to print.
Contrast that with New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams, who decided it’d be a good idea to shove a stick into the Warriors’ hornets nest earlier today (via AP’s Antonio Gonzalez):
“I’m not so sure that the decibel level is legal there, and I’m serious,” Williams said before Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Monday. “They’ve done studies on that. Being on the competition committee, there’s got to be something to that because it does get a little out of hand.
“I’ve talked about it for years, they’ve got some of the best fans in the league here, and they show up early,” he continued. “The music before the game, they’re playing old school music, and it’s right above your locker room. And you’re like, ‘These people are crazy, man. This is pretty cool.’ So I’m sure it has an effect, but after a few minutes it’s just basketball.”
The first reaction many have had after hearing/reading those comments is some version of “why in the name of Pierre the Pelican is Williams fanning the flames? Doesn’t he know Oracle can and definitely will get louder now, in light of his ‘TEACHER, JIMMY AND JANE WERE PASSING NOTES IN CLASS’ style whining?”
But this was probably nothing more than a tried-and-true coach’s trick during the playoffs, something we’ve seen from guys like Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, and Phil Jackson (I listed him twice because he seemed to do it at least twice as often as anyone else). Williams is going to stick up for his team’s superstar, regardless of whether or not the superstar’s feelings are warranted.
Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis credited the crowd — an announced sellout of 19,596 wearing golden yellow shirts — for his team’s slow start in Game 1. The Warriors went ahead by 15 after the first quarter, 18 at the half and 25 late in the third quarter before holding off New Orleans 106-99 on Saturday.
“My first playoff experience, it was pretty hectic. So much going on, it was so loud I couldn’t hear my teammates, my coaches,” Davis said after Sunday’s practice. “We started off bad as a team and picked it up as a team when we all got calm.”
The funny thing about all this — and this has been mentioned by several others — is that it wasn’t all that loud on Saturday, relatively speaking. The crowd was happy in the first quarter as the Warriors’ lead grew, it exploded with delight when Andrew Bogut scored on that lob pass from Draymond Green, and the noise peaked when Stephen Curry made that unfathomable lefty shot off the glass against Davis.
(A little secret: one of the great things about covering games at Oracle is there is no press box. We’re all seated at tables above the first level, a few feet behind the fans. So when a certain person lets out a little yell when crazy plays like that occur, no one hears and admonishes said person for not conforming to traditional press box decorum.)
I’ve been to louder regular season games — last season’s loss to Miami, for instance. Oracle was noisier than your average gym on Saturday afternoon, but the arena never gets fully lit during day games. It’s just too early for Warriors fans to let loose and go crazy. I didn’t even see an empty Hennessy bottle in the parking lot on my way to the car after Game 1. Warriors fans are passionate, but there are limits.
Speaking of lit, the only thing that could keep Oracle Arena from setting a new high decibel record tonight is the date on the calendar. I forgot it was 4/20 until I took my infant daughter and dog on a walk to Golden Gate Park this afternoon, something that definitely won’t make it onto a list of “Steve’s Greatest Parenting Decisions.” I was able to avoid the area where most of the lazy-eyed kids were congregating, so no contact high for the baby. But even a celebratory haze in the parking lot probably won’t keep the building from shaking tonight, especially if (and this is definitely what I’d do) the Warriors post Williams’ quotes on the scoreboard before the game instead of spending all that time shaming fans into putting on the gold t-shirts.