The Timberwolves' trip to Mexico took quite the unforeseen turn Wednesday night.
By PHIL ERVIN FS North
One faulty piece of arena equipment is one NBA team's benefit.
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman's wish was granted Wednesday night, as a generator malfunction caused the NBA to postpone and move Minnesota's NBA Global Games matchup with San Antonio from Mexico City Arena to the Target Center. An evening aimed at celebrating the league's two most foreigner-laden teams in one of its primary international target markets instead saw players, coaches, officials, media members and team staff escorted out of the venue about an hour before the game's scheduled start time.
No one was hurt by the miniature blaze. That's especially true for Adelman's team, which comes out of an otherwise-PR-nightmarish plight sitting pretty.
Essentially, Minnesota received a team trip to Mexico, some high-altitude training, a five-day layoff ahead of Saturday's home clash with two-time defending champion
Miami and a home game against the league's other 2012-13 conference champ sometime down the road (a league statement said a makeup date will be announced at a later juncture).
Perhaps Adelman will be a bit more cheery when he and his team return to the Twin Cities.
It was the cantankerous veteran coach
who clamored against having to fly 18,000 miles to sacrifice a home game in the name of international diplomacy. "It absolutely makes no -- really, when you have 41 home games, it’s not a good idea to give a home game against the Western Conference champions away," Adelman said last week. "It’s just me. I’d rather play them here."
Minnesota will, at some point. As a bonus, it receives plenty of time to rest up for the
Heat after facing Houston, Indiana, Denver, Dallas and Oklahoma City in a grueling nine-day stretch that concluded Sunday.
A growing contingent of NBA fans from the U.S.'s next-door neighbor weren't so lucky.
Thousands of aficionados in Mexico City -- which sits 7,943 feet above sea level -- missed out on a chance to see the second regular-season contest played on their country's soil. It would've featured an NBA-record 17 international players, including native Spanish speakers
J.J. Barea and
Manu Ginobili. As it stands, the country has hosted 20 NBA exhibitions or regular-season games.
But this particular cog in
the NBA's globalization agenda was foiled by either inadequate maintenance or a mere stroke of poor fortune, considering Mexico City Arena opened in February 2012.
They waited outside while arena and NBA officials decided whether or not the smoke could be cleared in time for a game. At 9 p.m. -- half an hour after the contest's originally-slated tipoff time -- the league tweeted there would be no basketball Wednesday night in Mexico's capital city.
Thus, several thousand fans were robbed of their chance to see
Kevin Love battle
Tim Duncan in a game that could have playoff implications down the road.
The Timberwolves, however, boarded a plane back to America, where a tough December slate looks just a little less daunting following some well-needed rest and a shortened sojourn south of the border.