But on Friday there was a different draw to help sell out the arena: the Rev. Hezekiah Walker, a -winning gospel singer.
So with the enticement of a postgame concert from and discounted group tickets for a “Gospel Night With the Nets” promotion, the Nets sold out Prudential Center for their 102-98 overtime win against the .
The late-arriving crowd diminished the effect of the sellout. The Nets’ only other sellout since they moved to Newark for this season was a game against the on Feb. 12.
“We like sellouts,” Coach Avery Johnson said. “Any time we get a sellout, we’ll take it. We feel tonight, we’ll have more of the crowd on our side, and that’s a good thing.”
Brook Lopez and Jordan Farmar each scored 24 points to lead the Nets. Kris Humphries had 19 points and 20 rebounds.
The Clippers’ Blake Griffin had 23 points and brought the crowd to its feet with thunderous drunks in the first and third quarters, but he failed to win the game in regulation when he missed the second of two free throws.
The other factors in the sellout included seeing the Nets (21-43) put their three-game winning streak on the line and the appeal of Griffin, the electrifying rookie.
The Nets have been creative in their promotions to bring in crowds. They had a $10 ticket sale last year.
The team, which has hosted gospel music promotions in the past, contacted several churches in the metropolitan area to ask which singer they should use for this year’s gospel night.
After Walker emerged as the favorite in the survey, the Nets offered the churches discounted group ticket rates, which included $10 food credits.
While the part owner and media mogul sat courtside, there were large patches of empty seats throughout the arena for most of the game. But fans filled some of those chairs by the fourth quarter.
Then, after the Nets and the Clippers left the court, the crowd shuffled around and jockeyed for better seats in anticipation of what for many of them was the night’s main attraction.
89, 86 Spencer Hawes had 14 points and 10 rebounds, scored 14 points and the host 76ers sent Boston to just its eighth Eastern Conference loss.
The Sixers controlled the East-leading Celtics for most of the fourth quarter. The Celtics missed eight straight baskets over six minutes late in the period. (AP)
94, HAWKS 76 Derrick Rose came on strong after a slow start to finish with 34 points as host Chicago won without Carlos Boozer, who sat out with a sprained left ankle. Rose scored 18 points in the third quarter as the Bulls outscored Atlanta by 24-10. Chicago pulled a half-game behind Boston in the East. (AP)
97, 92 Stephen Jackson scored 18 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead 3-point play, and the Bobcats spoiled Gerald Wallace’s return to Charlotte.
The last original member of the seven-year-old franchise and its only All-Star, Wallace was traded by the Bobcats last month for role players and draft picks. Wallace had 13 points and 9 rebounds, but he fouled Jackson on a twisting layup to put Charlotte ahead to stay. (AP)
108, 98 Leandro Barbosa scored a season-high 29 points, Ed Davis had 12 points and 13 rebounds and host Toronto handed Indiana its sixth straight loss. The Pacers dropped into a tie with Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the East. (AP)
T’WOLVES 122, 101 Kevin Love of host Minnesota had 24 points and 12 rebounds and extended the longest double-double streak since 1973-74 to 53 games. Utah is 3-6 since trading point guard Deron Williams to the Nets. (AP)
THUNDER 104, 94 Kevin Durant scored 24 points and James Harden kept his late-season surge going with 22 points for host Oklahoma City, which led throughout the second half.
Russell Westbrook added 13 points and 11 assists and became the fifth player to reach 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds during his first three years. The others are Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Oscar Robertson. (AP)
108, KINGS 103 Tony Parker scored 27 points and Manu Ginobili 24 as host San Antonio overcame a 91-88 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Sacramento for the 11th straight time. (AP)
PAUL HOPES TO PLAY Chris Paul went through a full scrimmage without restrictions and afterward said he hoped to be in the ’ lineup against the in New Orleans on Saturday night, six days after he sustained a concussion in a victory at Cleveland. (AP)