November 30, 2016
The Kings aren't a great team, but there were plenty of reasons to be excited for Wednesday night's Sixers game.
Joel Embiid was expected to play a season-high 28 minutes, some of that alongside Jahlil Okafor for the first time in over a month. He was also set to do battle with the likes of DeMarcus Cousins.
The game, however, was not played due to one of the most bizarre situations you'll ever see, finally being postponed shortly after 8 p.m.
About an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. tip, that excitement turned to angst as those in the arena began to realize that something wasn't quite right with the Wells Fargo Center court.
It was covered in some kind of film and quite a bit of condensation, an issue that was originally blamed on the record-high temperatures in Philly, but may have been due to someone forgetting to turn the temperature down in the arena after last night's Flyers game.
It appears someone in operations dropped the ball and didn't turn the temperature down hours before the game as normal.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) December 1, 2016
And it wasn't just a little bit of moisture on the floor. It was a lot.
No one is exactly sure what caused the condensation, but it was enough for them to postpone the game after nearly two hours of debate and multiple attempts to dry the playing surface.
If we do see Sixers-Kings tonight, these guys will be the real MVPs. pic.twitter.com/l9ZTBIfG6k— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) December 1, 2016
“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation," said John Page, President of the Wells Fargo Arena Complex. "Player safety is the most important thing for us as we look at our playing surface. We’re not exactly sure what caused the situation. We are going to investigate so it doesn’t happen again.”
“We’re not sure [what caused the wetness]," said Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil, who added that it was first noticed during the Kings shoot-around, sometime around 4 p.m. "I think this building is run really well, so it’s really unfortunate. Obviously, there’s nothing more important than health and wellness and safety of our players."
The official call, however, didn't come from those who run the building. That was left up to the NBA.
"I think the good news was," O'Neil continued, "the Sacramento owner was here, Vivek [Ranadivé]. Vlade [Divac] was here. I have relationships with both of them, so it was a really easy dialogue. We spoke to players on the Sacramento team. We talked to our players. The officials were unanimous. Eventually, this is a league decision, this isn’t up to [president of the Wells Fargo Arena Complex] John Page or anybody at the Sixers making the call. But it was pretty unanimous decision to just do what’s in the best interest of the players."
Cousins, who was hanging around courtside once the decision was made, said he's never seen anything like it in his life.
“It was out of our hands," he said of the decision to postpone the game. "You can kind of tell it was going to go that way. The floor was way too slippery. I’ve never seen conditions like that before.”
Cousins even tried to lend a helping hand, grabbing a mop and trying to dry the floor.
“I was serious," he said. "I was trying to play. But I’m kind of glad it did go this way. Player safety should be considered first. I think they made the right decision.”
As for the fans who made the trip to South Philly only to be sent home before seeing any basketball, they'll have their tickets honored when the game is rescheduled ... and then some.
"The shame of this, obviously, aside from ruining all your nights and days — is for the fans that came out," O'Neil said. "When the game’s rescheduled they’ll obviously have their tickets honored. We’re also going to offer them tickets to another game; we offered three separate games up. And hopefully we’re going to figure out the parking — I think if they have their receipt they’re going to be able to use that again.
"I know this is a tremendous inconvenience to the fans, so I certainly apologize on behalf of the organization.”
That's not a bad deal, all things considered.
There's been no official word on when the make-up game is going to be played, but there's a chance it won't be anytime soon.
“We haven’t [set a date]," O'Neil added. "Talking to Vlade and Vivek, they mentioned that they have another long East Coast swing in the spring. They also mentioned that they don’t want to make that an eight-game swing. And the back-to-backs are very sensitive in our league, as are three-in-fours [days]. So we’re going to look at their midwest schedule and the league will be really helpful in figuring out what’s best. We’re certainly not the highest on the totem pole when it comes to that decision. We’re going to do what’s best so we make sure Sacramento gets their game in.”
In the meantime, the players we're left trying to figure out something to do with their unexpected night off.
“I don’t know what we’re doing. I’m out here trying to find something to do now," said Cousins.
"Probably go hit up Geno's or something."