Wolves-Blazers postponed due to slippery, unsafe court conditions

The Wolves' Andrew Wiggins (back right) practices as Target Center workers wipe down the wet basketball floor on Monday. (AP)
The Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins (back right) practices as Target Center workers wipe down the wet basketball floor on Monday. (AP)

The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves were slated to square off Monday night in a matchup of two teams chasing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Instead, they found their shared pursuit interrupted by that most dastardly troika: unseasonable warmth, college hockey, and Mickey Mouse.

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Target Center in Minnesota doesn’t typically have an ice rink underneath the basketball court on which the Wolves play their games. But this past weekend, the gym played host to “Disney on Ice,” and on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s scheduled to host the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Frozen Faceoff, so there’s one down there now. Combine that with temperatures hitting the low 60s in the Twin Cities on Monday, and you’ve got a recipe for some slippery hardwood:

“Due to humidity in the Twin Cities today, there is condensation on the court because of the ice underneath the Target Center right now for hockey coming up,” Timberwolves Vice President of Communications Brad Ruiter told reporters about an hour before the game was set to start. “That condensation is causing slick spots mainly around the edges of the court on the black walking paths; that’s where it’s most noticeable. That’s being transferred onto the court as players are walking onto court.”

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Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard expressed serious concern about the health and well-being of the players and officials who’d have to take the court if the game were to go on as scheduled:

The Wolves got all players and coaches off the court about an hour before the expected start time, and turned down the temperature in Target Center in hopes that cooler air would dry the court. Despite those efforts, it became clear shortly thereafter that neither team would be suiting up:

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And, at 7:03 CT, the Wolves officially announced that the league office had decided to cancel the game “due to unforeseen issues with the playing surface.”

The game will be rescheduled for a later date, though with just six weeks left in the season, there aren’t very many free ones on the calendar:

… and yet, with the Blazers sitting just 1 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets in the race for the West’s No. 8 spot, and the young Wolves surging to within three games out, it’s one they’ve got to pack in, even if it means adding another road trip to Portland’s travel itinerary.


This marks the second time during the 2016-17 season that a game has been postponed due to dangerously slippery on-court conditions, joining the scuttled Nov. 30 matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center, which the Sixers share with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!