You know those situations where you know something is wrong, but there’s no physical evidence to suggest as such? We’ve got one of those.
Saturday night during Lakers-Thunder Game 4, there was something wrong with the court. The most notable example came before the half, when Russell Westbrook, a pretty agile guy, turned to run up the floor with the half winding down, and just slipped and fell. His right leg slipped out from under him. He lay on the court for several minutes holding his hip before getting up and going to halftime. He returned and everything was OK. And if it was just that, that’s not a big deal. But Ramon Sessions flat out slipped on to his stomach in the first quarter for no apparent reason. There were multiple slips.
The natural question was to ask if the fact the arena had to be constantly flipped from Lakers court to Clippers court to L.A. Kings rink had something to do with it. The arena had to be flipped from Clippers to Lakers in the same day Saturday, a double-header due to the back to backs being played because of the compressed schedule (on account of the lockout). But arena officials deny that there were any issues with the court. Hmmm. From the Orange County Register:
The unusual number of on-court slips and spills by both the Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder during Saturday’s Game 4 was not because of the ice rink beneath the court, according to Staples Center officials.
The ice has been there since September and there have not been any previous complaints about slipping.
Michael Roth, spokesman for Staples Center, said the referees deemed the court safe.
The referees didn’t have any complaints with the court,” Roth said. “And everything was done as usual in these circumstances.”
So they say there was no concern. But I’ve seen players slip on a court enough to know that what was going on Saturday night was not normal slipping. It was on multiple spots on the floor, and too consistent for there to have been nothing fishy going on.
The answer here, as usual, is to blame hockey, regardless of any actual impact from the ice.