Stotts, Thibodeau Put Player Safety First in Reaction to Monday's Postponement

by Cody Sharrett

After a good hour-plus of mopping, NBA officials made the call to postpone Monday's Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves game due to condensation on the Target Center floor putting player safety in jeopardy. With 60-degree temperatures and increased humidity in the Twin Cities on Monday, ice under the floorboards from the weekend's Disney On Ice event started to evaporate and cause a slippery playing surface during player warmups for Monday's contest. 

"It's a little mixed," Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of his reaction to the postponement. "Obviously, when you make the trip, you're ready to play but I'm glad the decision was made because player safety, safety for the officials -- anybody out on the court running around -- you just don't want to put yourself in a position where injury is possible.

"I just know [players] didn't feel confident going out there playing 100-percent worried about their movement," Stotts added. "I just thought mentally, it would've been challenging."

Echoed Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau: "I’d like to apologize to our fans and certainly to the Trail Blazers. Obviously the safety of the players has to come first. It’s unfortunate but it’s the right thing to do. So, the game was cancelled and I’m glad [NBA official] Ronnie Garretson was here. He’s a great referee but he’s also a great decision maker. He’s been with the league a long time and the safety has to come first.

"There was too much risk and you can’t take that chance. It was the right decision.”

Tuesday is the Blazers' second postponed game of the season, following a snow and ice storm that pushed the Blazers meeting with the Detroit Pistons back a day on January 7 in Portland. No make-up date has been scheduled yet, but the extra rest should benefit the Trail Blazers Tuesday night in Oklahoma City as they take on the Thunder. 

"We'll see when the make-up game is," Stotts said. "From a fatigue standpoint, we get into Oklahoma City a couple hours early, but obviously sometime down the road, we'll have to fly back to Minnesota. [Whenever] that is, it's going to be a challenge.

"It is what it is, you go on to the next game and whenever we come back here, we come back."

The Blazers take on the Thunder Wednesday evening at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Tipoff is set for 5pm.