First, no automatic sellouts. Then boos. The Thunder fan response certainly is not what we expected after the romance of the Hornets.
The Thunder drew 18,312 fans for the Clippers on Wednesday, 824 shy of capacity. That’s become their standard crowd, with the opening night or the Celtics or the Hornets bumping it up to sellout status.
The NBA isn’t worried. At least it shouldn’t be. There are other venues to worry about in these tough-economic times.
Wednesday night in the NBA, the Thunder was one of the shining lights in terms of support. The Boomers are a bad team playing a bad team, yet were within 824 of a sellout and would have had a sellout had management not made the still-strange decision to cap season-ticket sales. Prediction: the Thunder won’t make that mistake again.
Anyway, let’s check out some other NBA venues Wednesday night.
Atlanta: 14,416, more than 4,000 shy of capacity, for a young team that is winning.
Miami: 15,014, more than 4,500 shy of capacity for a young team that is playing well.
New Orleans, 15,533, more than 1,500 shy of capacity for a team that Oklahoma City would sell its soul for.
Minnesota: 10,111, more than 9,000 shy of capacity.
Houston: 18,203, 297 shy of capacity for a team of Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest. And the Rockets were playing Dallas.
San Antonio: 16,559, more than 2,000 shy of capacity for a franchise that has won four NBA titles the last nine years and still has superstars and was playing the star-studded Nuggets.
I’m disappointed in the OKC crowds. I thought it would be a season sellout, and I think the Thunder management thought so, too.
But if 18,200 is the base, if 18,200 is going to be the bad crowds, then the Boomers are the least of the NBA’s attendance problems.