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Despite winning the NBA Championship last season, it all transpired in the Orlando Bubble because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Teams played all their games in a neutral setting without fans, so home-court advantage didn’t exist for teams possessing the higher seed.
It was an unfortunate situation for the Lakers, who had finished the 2019-20 season with a 52-19 record, good for first place in the Western Conference.
Though they persevered to win it all, they couldn’t enjoy the ride with fans present.
The last time the Lakers hosted a playoff game in Staples Center occurred in the 2013 playoffs. They faced off against the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round, but San Antonio swept them, 4-0.
Similar to this season, the Lakers were also the seventh seed in that matchup, though their overall talent was nowhere near what they currently have.
Now, as Los Angeles has momentum following their Game 2 win Tuesday, they’ll have a capacity of approximately 7,500 fans in the arena.
The Lakers must hope James comes out aggressive against the Suns for this moment, as a win would put them up 2-1 on the series. Game 4, slated for Sunday, will also take place in Staples Center.