The Trail Blazers' home crowd was at just 10 percent of its normal capacity. The television broadcast made the lower bowl of Moda Center look almost completely empty. Masks were mandatory in the arena unless fans were actively eating or drinking, muffling cries of encouragement and excitement.
None of that mattered. As Portland players and coaches told it after their crucial win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the 1,939 fans watching at Moda Center for the first time this season made a huge impact regardless.
"When they told us it would be 10 percent, I didn't know how much of a difference that would make in such a huge building," Damian Lillard said. "But I guess we didn't realize how bad an empty building was because that felt like a normal game."
Terry Stotts even heard the time-honored, big-game battle cry of partisans rooting against the league's glamour franchise.
"It was outstanding," he said of Portland playing in front of home fans. "You could really feel the difference when the players were warming up, starting lineups, 'Beat LA!' It was very noticeable, and everyone around the team felt the difference."
It's safe to say that difference mattered most to Jusuf Nurkic. The Bosnian Beast hadn't taken the floor with fans in the stands at Moda Center since suffering that horrific broken leg on March 25, 2019, a span of more than two years.
"To be honest, I just feel like we feed off the energy of the fans," Nurkic told Brooke Olzendam unprompted after the game. "Badly needed this year. I'm so happy to see the fans in the building, it's been so long for me especially. I think they definitely enjoyed this one."
Nurkic admitted he even felt "nervous" with Blazers faithful back at Moda Center. Not that he would've had it any other way, of course.
"That's their win for sure," he said of Portland fans. "We couldn't do it without them."
Just like the Blazers needed a home crowd to clinch a key head-to-head tie-breaker against the Lakers, they'll need fans again 24 hours later to prop up their weary legs on the second leg of a back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs. And if Friday night is any indication, expect 10 percent capacity at Moda Center to again feel like much more.