If reports are correct, the Warriors’ clash with the Rockets on December 25th will be their first Christmas game at the Chase Center, their brand new arena in San Francisco.
The festive spectacle will be the Center’s first truly high-profile game, so it will be interesting to assess whether the crowd can create a similar atmosphere to the raucous fans at Oracle Arena, Golden State’s now-former venue.
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The Warriors went 218-43 in Oakland in the five seasons under Steve Kerr, suggesting that San Francisco has a hard act to follow. If they are to remain contenders, then they need to make the replicate the fortress-like cauldron that made Oracle so special.
That being said, Golden State’s home record has declined each season since Kerr took over. Admittedly, this can partially be explained by the Warriors’ willingness to sacrifice regular-season games in order to stay fresh for the playoffs in recent years.
A perfect example of this was last season’s Christmas Day game, as the Warriors sleep-walked their way to a 26-point loss, at home, against a Los Angeles Lakers outfit who lost LeBron James for the majority of the second half.
In the coming campaign, however, the combination of reduced star power and a highly-competitive Western Conference means they cannot afford to spend the majority of the season on auto-pilot. If they do, the Warriors could fail to make the postseason.
Therefore hosting the Rockets at Christmas, on national television, is the perfect opportunity for Golden State to announce that whatever the opponent or the occasion, they will take some beating in their new stadium.