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OFFICIAL: Nets, Warriors to play without fans Thursday

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Thursday night’s Nets game in San Francisco will not be open for fans. The Warriors announced that because of concerns relating to the fast-spreading corona virus, COVID-19, the game will be played at Chase Center as planned but without fan access.

It will be the first game in NBA history played without fans.

“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, (Thursday) night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid,” the Warriors said in a statement.

Here’s the Warriors’ full statement...

Last week, the city of San Francisco banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people because of the growing threat of COVIDS-19, the corona virus wreaking havoc around the world.

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Health’s Infectious disease branch, seemed to suggest the league should play without fans.

“We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” said Fauci. “If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has large crowds is something that would give a risk to spread.”

“For me, it’s unprecedented. It’s a unique situation,” said interim coach Jacque Vaughn Wednesday night, before the decision was official. “Everyone is trying to make the best of it, keep things business as usual and listening to the league about any precautions they care to take.”

Vaughn noted that he had not experienced anything like a fan-free game.

“I’ve never done it and never been around it. Do you still get pregame music to go along with that? I’m not sure what all gets cut off,” said Vaughn, joking that in quiet arenas, the TV and radio audiences might hear what actually happens on court.

“Maybe going to add a few more mics, pick it all up. It’s going to be silent if you had no one in there. Squeaks and — I’ll tell my kids to cover their ears — there’ll be a little profanity out there for sure.”

DeAndre Jordan echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“It’s very serious. But at the same time a lot of us play for the love of the game, but also for the fans,” Jordan said. “That would be extremely tough for us to play a scrimmage, a practice-site scrimmage.”

Steph Curry agreed.

“Once the game actually starts and you see another team out there, it will be weird, but I think we will get into that flow fairly easily,” Curry said. “But that lead-up to it, there will be a lot of big eyes out there just kind observing how different the situation and atmosphere is ... trying to play an NBA game that actually counts with no fans in the seats.”

Kevin Durant, who was expected to make his return to Golden State Thursday, will now remain in L.A. where he has a home. The Nets have games back at Staples Center on Friday vs. the Clippers and then Sunday in Sacramento on Sunday.

There’s no official word on how those games will be treated, but there is growing sentiment for all games to be played without fans or even have games postponed.

Expect to hear more Thursday.

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