Friday, October 19, 2007
Preseason game called at halftime because of condensation on court
WORCESTER, Mass. -- The NBA preseason game between the
New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics was canceled after one half Friday
night because of damp court conditions at the DCU Center.
Boston led 36-33 at halftime when the game was called because of
condensation forming from ice beneath the floor. The 25-year-old
city-owned facility is home to the AHL's Worcester Sharks, an
affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
"The players felt like they were risking injury by playing on
the court," said Danny Ainge, the Celtics director of basketball
operations. "They didn't feel like they could get any footing and
they were slipping and sliding, so it was pretty unanimous among
the players and the officials and the coaches that the game should
Celtics players huddle on the court Friday night after a preseason game in Worcester, Mass., against the New Jersey Nets was cancelled at the start of the second half because of wet floor conditions.
He said the dampness was noticed earlier in the day, when the
outside temperature reached 71 degrees, but it seemed to improve
before game time.
"It was slippery this morning," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "Both teams wanted to play, but you have to use caution. As
people got in the building, it got warmer and warmer, so we didn't
feel comfortable going on."
Ray Allen sparked a 13-0 first-quarter run with consecutive
3-pointers as Boston took a 21-8 lead. New Jersey's Gamin Jones
scored nine in the second quarter.
"It was pretty slick, we talked about it before the game and we
knew that it would be hard to play with that element," Celtics
forward Kevin Garnett said.
An official met with both teams at halftime, and Celtics coach
Doc Rivers said they all agreed to cancel the game.
"It was the perfect storm, in a bad way," Rivers said. "Who
would have thought the temperature would reach 70 degrees in late
Celtics management hurriedly arranged an autograph session for
the disappointed fans in the crowd of 10,600, but ended it after
about 20 minutes because of security concerns.
"People get excited," Garnett said. "We did what we could do.
... They got some autographs, they got some conversation and we all
got out of there safe."
The offseason acquisitions of Garnett and Allen have generated
excitement among the fans of a team that hasn't won an NBA title
"I think what happened was we tried to make a quick plan to try
to sign autographs for fans, but when the fans tried to line up
quickly, there wasn't really enough room and they had to spill onto
the court," Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.
Because of the surge of people, the team ended the session for
safety reasons, he said, but there was no disorder.
"We thought the fans were terrific. They were as understanding
as they could be. But Mother Nature threw us a curveball," Twiss
said. "The fans were disappointed. We're disappointed because we
couldn't finish the game."
John LeHair, director of marketing for the DCU center, declined
immediate comment Friday night.
The Celtics pledged either a full refund or 50 percent discount
on a ticket if fans requested it.