Brian Byrnes, the Thunder’s senior vice president for ticket sales and service, said the franchise is one of many that will use the Celtics’ success to help drive their business.
"There’s a buzz in Oklahoma City today,” Byrnes said Tuesday. "People are talking about the Celtics being in town. We’ve had season-ticket holders call us looking to buy extra tickets. Our suite holders have called us to order more food than they did Sunday night.
"So there’s a general buzz that comes with a brand like the Celtics. When they’re playing well it’s a signature brand for the league.”
Tonight’s game is the first in the Thunder’s "Business Entertainment Pack” eight-game mini-plan. The Celtics are the driving force behind a package that includes non-playoff teams Memphis, New York, New Jersey, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas and San Antonio are the only other playoff teams from a year ago included in the package.
"A lot of times there’s more of a buzz in the building when those (marquee) teams are here, so it makes it more fun,” said Nick Collison.
Boston appeared on national television 10 times last season, up from zero appearances on ESPN, ABC or TNT in 2006-07. Boston has 25 games on national television this season and will play on NBATV eight times.
"There’s enormous respect for that franchise,” Carlesimo said. "You can’t feel any other way.”