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Early Thunder game likely to cause traffic, parking issues

The 6 p.m. start time of the Oklahoma City Thunder's home game Wednesday against the Boston Celtics will bring hordes of fans to downtown before many office workers are able to clear out.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: February 22, 2012

/articleid/3651074/1/pictures/1646666">Photo - Streets in downtown Oklahoma City got a little clogged Monday before the Thunder’s home game. Things could be worse Wednesday because of an early start time. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman
Streets in downtown Oklahoma City got a little clogged Monday before the Thunder’s home game. Things could be worse Wednesday because of an early start time. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman

It's not the first time multiple events or an unusual Thunder tipoff time have created traffic and parking issues downtown. Streets are generally more clogged when a Thunder game occurs at the same time as an event at the Cox Convention Center, which is across the street from the arena.

Parking spots also were hard to come by for a daytime Thunder playoff game last spring held on the same day as the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and the Festival of the Arts.

Mahoney said the team has no control over start times for nationally televised games.

“Our fans and our organization are always prepared to do whatever is necessary,” Mahoney said. “We don't question start times. We're glad to play whenever we play.”

Wednesday's game against the Celtics also isn't the only home game this week with a start time affected by national television.

Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, televised by TNT, begins at 8:30 p.m. — though that likely will put pressure only on bedtimes, not downtown Oklahoma City's parking infrastructure.


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