CJ McCollum asking for more fans in Portland for NBA Playoffs

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CJ McCollum asking for more fans in Portland for NBA Playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

The NBA regular season has come to a close which means one thing: it's playoff time.

With a first-round series with the Denver Nuggets fast approaching, Portland guard CJ McCollum is wishing for more fans to be allowed into the Moda Center for the postseason run.

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He and Damian Lillard voiced some frustration over being disallowed to host fans earlier this month when Portland was one of a few NBA teams to still be playing with only artifical crowd noise. 

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum frustrated the Blazers cannot host fans

Shortly after, Oregon governor Kate Brown granted clearance for the Moda Center to host fans at 10% capacity, or 1,900 people.

Since that decision, the Blazers have played four games at the Moda Center in front of Rip City, all wins.

However, the Blazers will be at a disadvantage relative to its opponent, the Denver Nuggets, who can host up to 7,750 fans per game, which is 42.3% of overall venue capacity, after approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) this week.

Last week, Kate Brown announced a goal of 70% of people over the age of 16 to have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose before lifting regulations. Counties that reach a 65% threshold will move to "lower risk" restriction levels as soon as May 21st, the day before the NBA Playoffs begin.

As of Monday, Multnomah County is nearing the 65% threshold with 64.7% at the time of this publishing. The "lower risk" level allows a maximum of 50% capacity indoors at restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment spaces. It also expands retail store capacity to 75%, per KGW News.

Multnomah County plans to submit its equity plan to the state on Friday, May 2st aiming to be permitted to be in the "lower risk" level by May 28th. 

In California, leagues such as the MLS and MLB have set up sections of fans that are fully vaccinated for LAFC, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Oregon ranks 8th in the United States in infections per 100,000 people at 14 per The New York Timesbut that's a 24% decrease from two weeks ago. 

McCollum could be getting his wish after all.