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Multiple Summer League games halted by earthquake

LAS VEGAS — An earthquake that struck Southern California forced the NBA to postpone and ultimately cancel the finish of a Summer League game between New Orleans and New York on Friday night, while engineers checked to see if the integrity of the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus was compromised in any way by the tremors.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played through the earthquake during their game at Dodger Stadium, though a WNBA game in Las Vegas was also stopped.

The primary issue at Summer League was the arena’s overhead scoreboard, which is suspended from the roof by cables and swayed noticeably when the quake hit. A game between Phoenix and Denver, scheduled for later Friday in the Thomas & Mack, was also cancelled — while a game in the adjacent Cox Pavilion, which does not have an overhead scoreboard, was also halted and later cancelled for precautionary reasons.

“Safety comes first, second, third,” Summer League executive director Warren LeGarie said.

The Knicks-Pelicans game, the NBA debuts for No. 1 pick Zion Williamson of New Orleans and No. 3 pick RJ Barrett of New York, was called with 7:53 left and New Orleans leading 80-74.

Preliminary estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey say the quake hit in Southern California on Friday night, and it was felt all the way in Las Vegas. The overhead scoreboard at the Thomas & Mack Center was swaying, and officials elected to delay the game and have the teams leave the floor while gauging if it was safe to continue.

“I was bringing the ball up, it felt like someone was pushing my hip, like I kind of leaned this way, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, what is going on?’” New Orleans guard Frank Jackson said. “And then I just saw everything shaking.”

It was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey said, after initial reports said it was a 7.1 quake. It was centered in the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest, some 150 miles from Los Angeles — but the effects were felt in Las Vegas and Mexico.

Friday’s quake would be the largest temblor in the region in 20 years and was centered in the same area as a 6.4 quake that hit a day earlier.

“I never remember them coming like this two days in a row,” said New York Knicks coach and California native David Fizdale, who is no stranger to quakes.

The WNBA game between the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics was suspended as well.

“This is the first time this has ever happened to me, the first time I’ve ever experienced that, even in a basketball game,” said New Orleans’ Christian Wood, who played college ball at UNLV. “It’s funny, guys didn’t know what was going on. Some guys were still playing on the court. But it was a good chance to go out there and see guys, guys had a good opportunity to play, it was fun.

“I’ve been a part of earthquakes, but nothing while playing basketball,” Wood said. “It was cool, but I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”

In Los Angeles, the quake was felt when Dodgers second baseman Enriquè Hernàndez was batting. It didn’t appear to affect him or Padres pitcher Eric Lauer. However, it was obvious to viewers of the SportsNet LA broadcast when the TV picture bounced up and down.

Some fans in the upper deck appeared to leave their seats and move to a concourse at the top of the stadium, and the Dodger Stadium press box lurched for about 20 seconds.

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