Thunder Crowd Puts Advantage In Their Court
They didn't sit down. From what I could tell, all 18,342 people refused to sit down for at least the fourth quarter, if not longer. Then again, considering the crowd looked like a tidal wave of toilet bowl cleaner, I could be way off.
Every fan entering the Oklahoma City Thunder's first home playoff game (in the series and in team history) against the reigning champion Lakers received a blue shirt saying, "Rise Together."
Sometimes this kind of promotion doesn't work and you will see a splattering of other colors. Surely if this were L.A there would be too many people concerned with their outfit to be bothered with a Fruit of the Loom size large promotional t-shirt.
Not on Thursday night. Not in Loud City. It was a sea of Thunder-Blue, which sounds like a pending Gatorade flavor. It isn't enough to look the part, however, and the home crowd made sure their support was heard loud and clear.
Kevin Durant said he couldn't hear himself and Kobe Bryant compared it to the epic road battles in Sacramento. Neither player was complaining. Kobe was complimenting the rookie crowd and, of course, Durant was thankful in his comments about his home court.
Since their inaugural game, the Thunder fans remain standing until the Thunder score their first basket. This sounds like something high school tradition. On Thursday they had to stand a bit longer than normal as the Lakers jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Whether it was sarcastic or not, the crowd erupted when the Thunder finally got on the board.
I'm not sure the Thunder can beat the Lakers in a best of seven series. Game three may have shifted momentum, but there is a lot of work to be done. The Lakers won't be surprised by the crowd noise this time. I hope the Thunder hand out a different color shirt for game four - just to throw the visiting team off.
The Lakers may be able to overcome crowd-noise and the overwhelming sight of Thunder Blue in game four, but if they don't find an answer for the "Durantula", this series may swing in a different direction.