SAN ANTONIO — As Game 1 of the went along the AT&T Center in San Antonio felt more and more like the old Boston Garden.
Not because of the vocal, loud crowd (although there is that), but rather the heat and humidity — it was hot and getting warmer all game.
By the end of the third quarter it was 89 degrees in the building according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (who apparently carries a thermometer around). I can vouch for that from inside the building, the heat has been escalating all game and it’s also very humid. It felt like bikram basketball.
The reason was an air conditioning malfunction that could not be quickly repaired, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com who wandered the bowels of the AT&T Center for the story.
According to building workers, an overheated circuit breaker was the culprit. Engineers in the bowels of the building were trying to get the breaker to cool down in the hopes that air conditioning could be restored.
If unsuccessful, the only other solution appeared to be installing a new circuit breaker on Saturday.
Here is the official statement from the AT&T Center:
“An electrical failure for the power that runs the AC system in the AT&T Center has occurred. We are continuing to work on resolving the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever played in anything like this since I left the islands,” said Tim Duncan, a native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, after the game.
NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn said there was never any consideration of stopping the game, no conversations with the referees, because the playing conditions were never dangerous (players were not slipping on condensation on the court).
The heat just made conditioning a bigger deal in what has been a tightly contested Game 1. LeBron James was feeling it and eventually had to leave the game, barely playing the final 7:31 of the game.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).