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SAN DIEGO — The Denver Nuggets were forced to alter their shootaround routine Sunday morning due to condensation on Valley View Casino Center’s court, the site of their preseason opener tonight against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“There’s a lot of condensation on the floor,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We kind of had to adjust on the fly. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to get hurt with a wet floor.”
Valley View Casino Center general manager Ernie Hahn told BSN Denver over the phone Sunday afternoon that he personally inspected every inch of the arena floor after the Nuggets’ morning practice. He didn’t find any condensation or wet spots and the court is good to go for tonight’s game.
In 2015, a Lakers preseason game against the Warriors was called with 2:16 left in the third quarter because of wet floor conditions and fear that a player would slip and get hurt. Hahn said at the time that the area had been experiencing record humidity all week, which had led to the slippery court.
“I don’t know why they came back here if that was the case,” Malone said referring to the 2015 incident. “That’s not my call.”
When it’s not hosting an NBA preseason game, the arena is home to the San Diego Gulls, a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League and affiliate to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Capacity for tonight’s game is around 13,000, according to an arena official, who noted that the arena only typically fills up for NBA preseason matchups and select concerts.
Hahn said that there’s currently no ice under the court, which wasn’t the case in 2015.
Nuggets small forward Will Barton said the floor was slick in a few spots but wasn’t overly concerned about playing this evening.
Regardless of the playing conditions tonight, Malone won’t overextend his regulars in the Nuggets’ first preseason game. Gary Harris (left hamstring strain) won’t play tonight and Denver’s starters won’t log more than 20 minutes. Veterans like Paul Millsap will play closer to 15. Malone didn’t reveal who he would start at shooting guard in Harris’ place but candidates include Malik Beasley and Torrey Craig.
Tonight’s preseason opener is also LeBron James’ Laker debut. He’ll start for Los Angeles alongside Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram and JaVale McGee. Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will not play.
“I just hope tonight we can get better, worry about ourselves and have no one get hurt,” Malone said.