By Ben Bolch
10:13 AM PST, February 12, 2014
The most compelling number to watch in the Lakers' box scores the rest of the season could be home attendance.
The Lakers failed to sell out a game Tuesday for the second time this season when they drew a season-low 18,209 against the Utah Jazz, ending a 17-game sellout streak dating to November. The previous non-sellout against the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 12 ended a far more impressive streak of 270 consecutive regular-season games (and 320 including the playoffs) going back to December 2006.
The Lakers rank eighth in the NBA in home attendance, averaging 18,937 fans per game. The Clippers have sold out every game this season and rank seventh in league attendance, averaging 19,196 fans. The Chicago Bulls lead the league with an average of 21,639 fans.
Local television viewers are also losing interest in the Lakers, with ratings down 37.5% on Time Warner Cable SportsNet over the team's first 40 games versus the same period last season, and have been dropped twice from the ESPN schedule this season and once from the TNT schedule.
The drop in appeal among fans and television viewers and executives should come as no big surprise given the Lakers (18-34) are in the midst of a historically bad season. Their 96-79 loss to the Jazz on Tuesday dropped them to 8-15 at home and gave them a six-game losing streak as the host team for the first time since the 1992-93 season.
The Lakers may not even want to think about what's next: a game Thursday at Staples Center against the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-12), which has the best record in the Western Conference.
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