NBA game in Mexico City postponed

The game between the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota

Timberwolves was postponed Wednesday night because of smoky

conditions inside the Mexico City arena.

The matchup will be made up in Minnesota at a later date.

The arena was evacuated about 45 minutes before the scheduled

9:30 p.m. EST tipoff when a generator malfunction outside the arena

sent smoke pouring into the building, according to NBA spokeswoman

Sharon Lima.

Mexico City Police said in a statement there was a fire in the

generator room on the fourth floor of the modern glass-clad arena

that opened in 2012.

”What happened was provoked by a short circuit in the room of

generators,” the statement said in Spanish.

About 15 minutes after the scheduled start, the Spurs bus pulled

away from the building. The Timberwolves bus followed soon

after.

While the teams were warming up for their regular-season

matchup, lights went out in parts of the arena and smoke began

coming out of vents in the upper deck. The court quickly became

cloudy.

”I thought they were practicing fireworks, Spurs TV analyst

Sean Elliot said. ”A lot of teams do that before introductions.

But then the smoke just kept creeping and it wasn’t white smoke. It

was like a brown dark smoke and it started taking over the whole

court. It was surprising.”

Fans had not yet been allowed into the arena for the NBA’s first

regular-season game in the country since Houston and Dallas played

in Mexico City on Dec. 6, 1997, when the evacuation was ordered.

The teams went to their buses, still wearing their practice

gear.

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said there was a lot of smoke in their

locker room.

Standing outside the Timberwolves’ bus in shorts and practice

shirt, guard Ricky Rubio had no idea what happened.

”They just told us to leave,” Rubio said in Spanish.

Both teams were scheduled to travel home right after the game.

The Spurs next host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

The Timberwolves, who play the Miami Heat on Saturday night,

were coming off a stretch in which they played a franchise-record

18 games before Dec. 1. The postponement gives them a much-needed

break.

Coach Rick Adelman was unhappy that his team had to give up a

home game in Minnesota. Now, the Timberwolves will likely make up

the game after the return of key bench players Chase Budinger

(knee) and Ronny Turiaf (elbow).

Adrian Perez, marketing manager for the arena, said fans will be

reimbursed.