Officials call off Raptors game for unsafe court conditions
Game in Milwaukee cancelled in 1st quarter
The Milwaukee Bucks have a slick new floor to play on this season.
Maybe a little too slick, it seems.
Officials called off Friday night's preseason game between the Bucks and Toronto Raptors because of concerns about the condition of the floor.
Officials stopped the game with 5:58 left in the first quarter after several players slipped and fell on the court surface.
After about 20 minutes' worth of discussion, an announcement was made over the arena public address system that the game would not be played.
"It was really bad," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. "I couldn't cut to get open. It wasn't the grip, it was just giving way when you try to cut. I was really scared. Amir Johnson and I fell on one play, and I tried to get up and I fell again."
It was really bad. I couldn't cut to get open. It wasn't the grip, it was just giving way when you try to cut. I was really scared. Amir Johnson and I fell on one play, and I tried to get up and I fell again.- Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his players first expressed concern about the floor conditions during pregame warmups.
"It felt like it was OK," Casey said. "Then I don't know what happened, but it was too dangerous. We had guys slipping and falling. The last thing we need is to have a guy injured slipping on the floor in a preseason game."
NBA lead official Danny Crawford said he and the other officials determined the floor was unplayable.
"We kept making eye contact out there and we saw the players were having issues with traction," Crawford said, in an interview with a pool reporter.
"Then when we had a few guys go down, we figured we should have a conference. And both teams wanted not to continue the game."
Although the Bradley Center also hosts hockey games, Crawford said that condensation wasn't the issue — leading to questions about the finish of the court surface itself.
The court issue comes at a sensitive time for the Bucks, who are making a push for public support to build a new arena.
The cancellation announcement to fans was made by former Bucks player John McGlocklin, one of the team's announcers and co-founder of a local charity, the MACC Fund.
Standing on the court, McGlocklin announced that anybody who had tickets to Friday's game could exchange them for tickets to a regular-season home game in November.
Turning boos into cheers
He also invited fans to shoot baskets on the floor, and said that the evening's planned donation to the MACC Fund would be unaffected by the cancellation — a sentiment that actually turned boos into cheers for the team's owner, former Sen. Herb Kohl, who was in the stands and stood up during the announcement.
Bucks coach Larry Drew said he didn't expect it to be an issue going forward.
The Bucks open the season on the road, and host their first regular-season home game Nov. 2 — also against the Raptors.
"I think it's an isolated incident," Drew said. "Whatever the issue was, I'm sure they'll take care of it."
The Bucks recently unveiled their new floor for the 2013-14 season, with a retro look meant to evoke the team's former floor designed by artist Robert Indiana in the late 1970s.
"We've got one of the best-looking floors in the NBA," Bucks guard O.J. Mayo said. "Just tonight, it didn't work out for us. I think we'll definitely get it under control."
The Bucks had played on the floor already, for one practice — the team typically practices at a separate facility south of downtown — and a preseason game.
Mayo said there weren't any issues in either of the team's previous outings on the floor.
"It felt great," Mayo said. "We were pretty stoked about how the floor looked. It looks awesome."
The Bucks were leading 14-9 when the game was stopped. It was the final preseason game for both teams.
"I know that we've got some of the best guys in the world, people in the world, to get it figured out and get it fixed," Mayo said. "It'll be ready for opening night."