Friday's preseason game between the Thunder and Phoenix Suns at the BOK Center in Tulsa has been declared a sellout (18,233) and will draw the largest crowd in the arena's four-year history. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
“It's amazing,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said of the team's statewide support. “I haven't really been to Tulsa as much, but I hear there's good people there, as well as Oklahoma City and all around Oklahoma. I think all the people are good people and they're on our side.”
The previous record crowd at the BOK Center was 17,931 for a George Strait concert in 2010.
This will be the Thunder's fourth preseason game at the facility. The previous three drew crowds of 9,549 in 2008, 10,427 in 2009 and 11,297 in 2010. There was no game last year because of the NBA lockout.
“Thunder tickets are no longer available. They're gone,” BOK Center assistant general manager Jeff Nickler told the Tulsa World. “It should be electric. It's a great event. It will definitely be the most-attended event in the history of the BOK Center. That's a given.”
SCRIMMAGE ROSTERS UNKNOWN
Rosters for the Blue and White scrimmage on Thursday have yet to be determined, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the teams will be coached by assistants Rex Kalamian and Maz Trakh.
A capacity crowd also is anticipated for the first-ever Blue and White scrimmage in Tulsa, which will be held at the $50 million SpiritBank Event Center, a 4,500-seat facility (10441 S. Regal Blvd.) that serves as the new home of the Thunder's NBA Developmental League affiliate — the Tulsa 66ers.
Tipoff is at 6 p.m. There is no radio or television broadcast.
In addition to the scrimmage, Thursday's session will include many Thunder game-night features, such as Rumble, the Thunder Girls, the Storm Chasers dunk team and the Thunder Drummers. There also will be a Thunder merchandise trailer.
“We represent the whole state,” Brooks said. “There's fans throughout the whole state that follow us, support us, watch us on television and now they're going to get a chance to see us in Tulsa with the scrimmage and the exhibition game. So it's just a great way, and we've done it every year, to get different parts of the state and high school programs involved.”
Brooks did not commit to Thabo Sefolosha playing against the Suns on Friday. Sefolosha is recovering from a deep thigh bruise that has sidelined him the last 5-6 weeks.
“Thabo did most of practice today,” Brooks said Wednesday. “It's getting close. I'd hate to say he's playing Friday if he doesn't play. He's getting close. I don't know exactly what day, but he's done a lot the last three or four practices now and today I think he (went) through the whole thing."
Sefolosha was spotted going one-on-one against guard Walker Russell after practice. Sefolosha was not going at full-speed, often taking two or three lateral steps defensively.
WHO'S PLAYING WHERE?
There have been times this preseason when Kevin Durant and his rookie backup, Perry Jones III, have played together, a combination Brooks said he likes.
But who is playing the 3 and who is playing the 4?
“I haven't really figured that out,” Brooks said with a smile. “With Perry and Kevin, they're the same size, same athleticism, they can guard each other in practice and I think that helps them. But during the games, whoever has the mismatch, they can go at him into the post. I think they've worked that out fairly well.”
Westbrook and fellow Team USA gold-medal winners Durant and James Harden apparently don't give Thunder teammate Serge Ibaka any grief for settling for the silver medal while playing for Spain this summer at the Olympic Games in London. Westbrook: “I just don't mention it. I mean, it ain't his fault they lost.”
John Rohde and Darnell Mayberry