Jones on Raptors: Escape from Indy

February 2, 2011, 1:19 AM

It was quite the day for the Toronto Raptors as they ended up back where they started.

The NBA requires teams to be in the city that they are playing the night before the game but the one opponent that is unpredictable and remains undefeated is Mother Nature.

Following the Raptors 104-93 loss to the Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indiana, the weather did not allow the team to leave for Atlanta. As a result, Toronto had to check back into its downtown hotel and stay the night before boarding a bus and heading for its charter flight at 11:00 a.m. the next morning. But the conditions were just starting to have an impact on the day as the travel party arrived at the aircraft just in time to witness the ice being chiselled off the door of the plane.

The Indiana Pacers were also at the airport, having their aircraft de-iced, in preparation for a flight to Cleveland for a game the next night against the Cavaliers. It took the maintenance crew some two hours to get the Pacers plane ready before they were able to get off the ground.

De-icing the Indiana plane along with other aircrafts trying to get off the ground to beat the deteriorating conditions put the valuable de-icing fluid in short supply. By the time the Air Canada jet started to be prepared for flight, the maintenance crews had run short on the liquid allowing only half the plane that was to transport the Raptors to be cleared. When the trucks were able to refuel, the declining weather conditions had the pumps frozen and the skies unfit to fly.

So after sitting on the aircraft for just a few minutes shy of five hours, the Raptors checked back into the downtown Indianapolis hotel for a third time. The NBA was made aware of the Raptors situation and has yet to make a final decision as to whether the game will be played or postponed. Simply put, Toronto is in a holding pattern and depending on the weather conditions, will try to get to Atlanta tomorrow morning for Wednesday’s game with the Hawks.

The storm has made conditions difficult across a wide portion of the U.S. as it heads to Canada. Reports out of the Atlanta area were calling for thunderstorms with the possibility of tornadoes.

It’s not uncommon around the NBA as games have been rescheduled for various reasons. However, it’s been a while since a Raptors game has been reshuffled because of weather.

The last time Toronto had a game moved was the fall of the 2002-2003 season. An early-season contest with the Wizards had to be rescheduled for March of 2003.


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