So I was cruising down Meridian en route to the Fieldhouse waiting to hear Austin Croshere share his thoughts on the Bulls vs. Pacers with JMV and Tony Donahue broke in with an announcement that the game was postponed.
Wow! That was surprising.
Both teams were in town and ready to go at the Fieldhouse. The refs were ready to go implying that the NBA show was ready to go. That was the message all day. As the snow fell heavy and blew sideways all morning, the NBA was ready to play.
Then when the snow stops falling and the major roads are in good shape, not great but good, and less than three hours before the game, the NBA decides to cancel the game?
As much as we'd all like to think the NBA cares about the fans, I have a hard time believing the NBA felt it was part of their civic duty to postpone the game. Look, they dumped those crazy uniforms on fans on Christmas day in search of a few more bucks. Anyone remember the lockout? Yeah, the NBA has an interest in fans, just not always the primary interest.
I've driven through far worse conditions to attend games at the Fieldhouse so even saying the Pacers wanted to save one of their marquis dates for a night when fans could attend doesn't explain the decision fully. I mean, the tickets were already sold, right?
My best explanation comes from pressure applied by the City of Indianapolis. For most of the day there have been severe weather warnings. Among these warnings were those imploring people to stay home and not tempt fate on the roads. That included the warning that unless that a car sliding off the road shouldn't expect emergency help.
So if the Pacers were saying this big Central Division matchup with the Bulls was a go, they were inviting people to challenge the foul weather to get down to the Fieldhouse. From a pure safety standpoint, I fully understand the decision. Maybe the city reminded the Pacers about those CIB payments that
The timing of the announcement compared to what we hear earlier in the day just doesn't make sense unless the city threw their weight around. Let's not forget that the city has done their part to help fund the Fieldhouse operations at the Pacers behest so, yes they have some weight to throw around and overrule the NBA.
So now what?
Both teams have an off-day on Thursday but the Pacers have games on Friday and Saturday. Plus, IUPUI has the FIeldhouse scheduled for Thursday. So this game will have to slide into the schedule some time in the future. Perhaps around the All-Star break?
Circumstances certainly won't be the same regardless of when the game is played. The Bulls may not be coming off a nasty loss the night before. Luol Deng may not be hampered by a balky ankle. Derrick Rose may be back. Danny Granger may be back.
The Bulls schedule is quite regimented through January with a game every Monday and Wednesday and then back-to-backs every Friday and Saturday. Only Saturday Jan. 5 would work, but the Pacers host Milwaukee that night. The first, best possible date that wouldn't give either team a back-to-back-back situation would be on Sunday, Feb. 10. Both teams have a home game the following Monday so travel considerations wouldn't be too bad.
Just a guess. No perfect solution exists for either team now that the game has been moved. Hopefully the impact of the game remains vital to the top of the standings in the Central Division.