The day after the first Wolves game scheduled for Target Center was postponed, Tom Thibodeau, coach and president of basketball operations, chalked up Monday’s problems to Mother Nature and not to mistakes.
“No, no,” Thibodeau said when asked if he felt mistakes had been made. “Sometimes the weather is a big factor. It rained [Monday]. It was warm. There was a lot of stuff going on.”
The game with the Portland Trailblazers was postponed when condensation on the court made the playing surface slippery and dangerous. A new date for the game has not yet been set. The Wolves are back on the court Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The problem Monday night was the surface of ice underneath the floor — one put in place for some Disney On Ice shows and one that will remain until the National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament is finished March 18. The combination of unseasonably warm temperatures and very high humidity along with the ice produced the condensation.
“It was unusual,” Thibodeau said. “The ice, combined with the humidity getting in. You look at all the things going on … I guess what we have to look at, probably, is the weather. It does get warm. We have to take precautions to do all that we can — which I think we did.”
Some have suggested that doors to the arena left open while the seating was changed from Sunday’s ice show to Monday’s game might have been the problem, allowing more humidity to enter the building. The basketball floor was fine when both teams held their morning shootarounds. But the problem became clear shortly after the teams went out to warm up before the game.
“You could definitely tell the difference in the conditions,” Karl-Anthony Towns said.
But Thibodeau didn’t buy into the open-door theory.
“That’s all speculation,” he said. “Listen, they’ve done this hundreds of times. And again, you could try to find blame on something. There was nothing you could do. You try to learn. You go through everything that happened, and see if you can take some other precautions. But, for the most part, it was handled as well as it could have been handled.”
As a result, the players and coaches — and, unfortunately, the fans — had an early evening. “It was different,” Towns said. “I’ve never been through that. I’m just glad both teams made a great decision to keep us safe and really think about the players first.”
Adreian Payne — who has missed 13 games while dealing with thrombocytopenia, a deficiency of platelets in the blood — has been cleared to practice and worked out with the team Tuesday. He will need a lot of conditioning work before returning, Thibodeau said.