Nuggets at disadvantage without fans at Ball Arena, coach Michael Malone says

Last season, the Nuggets were 26-11 at home. The campaign before, they were 34-7. And the prior season? The Nuggets were 31-10 in Denver.

This season, under entirely different, COVID-induced circumstances, they entered Tuesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers only 8-6 at Ball Arena and 8-8 on the road.

Coming off a road trip where the Nuggets played two games in front of fans – Cleveland on Friday, Atlanta on Sunday – coach Michael Malone has a keen sense of the difference when fans are in the stands. And as one of 16 teams yet to allow fans in their arena due to COVID restrictions, Malone sees the Nuggets at a disadvantage.

“When you play a team like Cleveland or Atlanta, and they have actual fans in the building, and you see more and more teams are going to start allowing fans, yes, I do think it is a competitive advantage,” Malone said.

“We’re so used to, obviously our games, there’s nobody there,” he said. “It is sometimes eerily silent in our building, even when you have all that pumped-in fake noise, you look around and there’s no one there.”