On Wednesday night, the Miami Heat ventured to Cleveland, the old home of LeBron James, to attempt to extend their historically great winning streak to 24 games. However, they had to wait a little while to get things started.
Moments before the scheduled tip, workers at Quicken Loans Arena interrupted proceedings to mop up liquid on the court. It only got weirder from there.
Dan Gilbert tweeted to apprise fans of the situation:
Scoreboard is leaking fluid on to floor.We need to lower scoreboard to fix. Never seen this one before. Going to be several minutes to fix.
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) March 20, 2013
And here's video of the immediate reaction to the leak:
That "several minutes" turned out to be a 35-minute delay. Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides details of what went down:
It was determined that condensation from a carbon dioxide canister -- used during the scoreboard's pre-game pyrotechnics -- was the origin of the moisture.
The teams had been introduced and were all set to tip off when a small army of security people and arena workers began mopping up moisture near halfcourt across from benches.The players were sent back to the locker rooms, and the public address announcer said there would be a 15-minute delay before players would return and warm up again.
The scoreboard was moved back into position and the players returned to the court at 7:38 p.m. for a brief warmup session. The game began at 7:45 p.m.
Putting on a functional NBA game involves many complicated processes, so in some ways it's surprising that mistakes like this one don't happen more often. Most every team in the league includes some form of pyrotechnics or a light show in their pregame theatrics, and yet dangerous incidents are rare. Plus, leakage seems relatively minor, all things considered. There was no fire, which occurred in Seattle in 2007 during a Sonics/Warriors game.
The good news here is that no one was hurt, the Quicken Loans crew fixed the situation quickly, and the only real hassle was a delay that didn't even last an hour. Given that we're dealing with carbon dioxide canisters, this was probably the best-case scenario involving a malfunction. There was the potential for a much, much worse incident.
On the other hand, the delay might have hurt the Heat's chances at making history. At halftime, the Cavaliers lead 55-34 and look primed to stop the streak. We'll have more updates later on Wednesday night if they do.