Fri Oct 22 08:00pm EDT
It was hardly going to be boffo entertainment anyway, a Friday night exhibition contest on basic cable going up against a playoff baseball game usually isn't much to look forward to, but ESPN did have big plans for tonight's Orlando Magic/Miami Heat game.
It sent Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Hubie Brown down to Tampa for the call. It even set up a half-hour pregame show to, I'm sure, go over all things Miami Heat-y. With Mike Miller(notes) being shelved until 2011after thumb surgery, and LeBron James(notes) kind-of/maybe telling Cleveland Cavalier fans to "get over it," there would be a bunch to talk about.
Too bad there's no game to play. Tim Reynolds from the Associated Press has the call:
The NBA released a statement saying the game was canceled because of "unsafe playing conditions on the arena floor."
The game will not be rescheduled.
[Photos: See NBA star Mike Miller in action]
The game was being played in the Tampa Bay Lightning's arena, and despite day-long efforts to stop the floor from being too slippery. The cause, apparently, stems from an "oil-based cleaning solution" that was "mistakenly applied." As the Magic had the initial shootaround this morning, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was the first to notice the slickness, and he alerted Heat coach Erik Spoelstra about the problem via text messsage.
The NBA called the action about an hour and a half before tipoff. The Palm Beach Post's Ethan Skolnick elaborates:
Playing on that court, Redick was quoted as saying after the cancellation, "would have been like playing on butter."
[ Photos: See Magic guard J.J. Redick on the court]
It's a massive bummer that the people of Tampa are missing out on what should have been a pretty good game, run right in their back yard, but there was no way around this sort of decision. If there was even the slightest chance that someone on that court -- be they a former league MVP, a referee, or camera operator-- was in danger of slipping and falling, then the contest needed to be canceled.
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