The Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers entered tonight’s Western Conference first round Game 5 matchup knotted up at 2-2. However, the fans there for opening tip at 7:00 pm PST made it seem like the Clippers and Blazers were playing a meaningless game in mid-March between two non-playoff teams.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 28, 2016
Maybe it’s the fact that everyone assumes the Warriors or Spurs will win the West, or that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will both most likely not play another game this season. But even though both of these facts are probably true, it is the playoffs and more fans should be there for the opening tip in game five of a tough best-of-seven series.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I understand how tough and brutal Los Angeles traffic can be. I’ve been to many Dodgers games where the stadium was empty until the third inning, or Kings games were the lower bowl was half full until halfway through the first period. However, never have I seen a Los Angeles team poorly represented and supported in the playoffs.
Then again, the NBA playoffs are a different animal. Eight seeds almost never beat one seeds and teams with the most superstars almost always win, thus making certain first round games obsolete. But then again, with the injury to Steph Curry and the ages of the Spurs’ starters, one could argue this year’s western conference playoffs are wide open for anyone to emerge. As a result, it’s shocking to see an arena, especially in Los Angeles, that empty minutes before opening tip.
Just look at how many seats are empty behind the Clippers’ bench.
I can't quite get over this. NBA playoffs, game 5. Look at this entire section behind Clippers bench! pic.twitter.com/rOmEteE94F
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) April 28, 2016
If you watch this GIF posted by the official Clippers account slowly, you can spot a lot of empty seats behind one of the baskets.
You guys R.S.V.P. for the block party? pic.twitter.com/Opqpz5FWeP
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 28, 2016
As of now, the Lakers still rule Los Angeles despite the Clippers more recent success. However, this is the NBA playoffs and the Clippers vs. Blazers series could be one of the better — if not the best — first round matchups. Therefore, it’s disappointing to see such a poor turnout for a crucial game five, especially when the series is tied 2-2.