The scene was comical but serious.
As officials at Wells Fargo Center scrambled to figure out what was making the court slippery Wednesday night, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins grabbed a couple of mops and pitched in.
But the court was deemed unsafe for play, and the game against the Philadelphia 76ers was postponed. The NBA said a makeup date would be announced at a later time.
No one could determine what the slippery substance was. The Philadelphia Flyers hockey team plays at Wells Fargo Center, but no one complained of water on the court.
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“Was it condensation? Was it preliminary activity during the day?” Wells Fargo Complex President John Page said. “Those are all things we’re going to investigate what would have caused this so it doesn’t happen again.”
Fans booed after waiting nearly an hour for the announcement. While the players already had changed out of their uniforms knowing there would be no game, fans heard an announcement that the postponement was not official and were still spending money at the concession stands while waiting for the news.
The 76ers announced tickets and parking receipts for Wednesday’s game would be honored when it is rescheduled. Fans who purchased tickets for the game also could receive complimentary tickets for Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, a Dec. 14 game against the Toronto Raptors or a Dec. 18 contest against the Brooklyn Nets.
The game was scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Pacific, but the Kings noticed issues with the court during their morning shootaround.
“It was slippery for shootaround, but it wasn’t the whole court,” guard Garrett Temple said. “Only in certain spots, around the baseline area. It moved to the whole floor by time we were shooting for the game.
“One of my teammates made a metaphor that it was if freshly cooked bacon was rubbed on the floor. It felt a lot like grease, oil was on the ground. I’ve felt floors like that before, but not the entire floor, just certain spots.”
Cousins joked he and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid could play one-on-one with the winner getting the victory for his team. But he said the court definitely was unsafe.
“I’ve never seen the floor in those conditions before,” Cousins said.
Temple said the Kings’ warmup was awkward. Players complained about the floor, and workers tried to clean it.
“In my workout I’m doing my moves and I’m just sliding out there,” Temple said. “It’s like you’ve got socks on.”
Cousins said he tried to help dry the floor because he wanted to play, but he understood safety came first. He said the Kings weren’t angry.
“Not really mad; they just seemed more disappointed,” he said. “Guys go through their rituals, guys prepare for the game and, like that, they tell us we’re not playing. It’s kind of disappointing.”
The NBA must find a date when both teams can play and Wells Fargo Center is available. One possibility is Jan. 30 during a seven-game Kings trip.
The last time a Kings game was postponed was Jan. 26, 2015, against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden because of an impending blizzard. That game was rescheduled for March 3, becoming the opener of an eight-game trip.
Before the Kings headed to Boston, where they will practice Thursday at Northeastern and play the Celtics on Friday, Cousins was open to suggestions for how to spend the downtime in Philadelphia, including grabbing a cheesesteak.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Cousins said. “This is definitely different.”