Officials with the OKC Thunder and Chesapeake Energy Arena said Game 1 of the NBA playoffs will be business as usual, despite an anticipated raucous atmosphere between the Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers.
A sellout crowd of 18,203 is expected to give Lakers forward Metta World Peace an earful for elbowing Thunder reserve guard James Harden on April 22 in Staples Center.
Harden missed the final two regular-season games with a concussion, and World Peace was slapped with a seven-game suspension.
This is the first meeting between the teams since the incident.
From the Thunder's standpoint, team officials said there will be no antics to incite a crowd that figures to be plenty amped already.
No messages will be shown on the scoreboard supporting Harden or criticizing World Peace. No special T-shirts on either player will be sold. No replay of the incident will be shown. World Peace will be announced as Metta World Peace and not as his previous name Ron Artest.
Chesapeake Arena general manager Gary Desjardins said no additional security was hired for Game 1.
“We take the safety of our patrons very seriously,” Desjardins said Monday afternoon, “but we also are confident Thunder fans will represent Oklahoma City in a class manner tonight.”