Smoothie King Arena roofers focus on seams as they repair a game-canceling leak

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Roofers climbed atop the Smoothie King Center Thursday, trying to find out what caused water to rain down on the court, leading to last night's cancellation of the NBA game between the Pelicans and the Pacers.

Officials are trying to assess whether any more games will need to be re-scheduled.

Wednesday around 6 p.m., about an hour before the scheduled start of the game, water started raining down on the court, and it wouldn't stop. By 8:45 p.m, an hour and 45 minutes after the scheduled tip off, the game was postponed.

"I heard of a rain delay for the NFL, but not the NBA - this is different," said Pelicans' fan Victor Wong.

On Thursday roofers were focusing on roof seams, which may have been damaged in recent freezes.

"As the weather warmed up, it got under different parts of the building and it found places to fall," said Allen Freeman with SMG, the company that manages the arena.

SMG says the roof is 19 years old and was repaired last year.

"We found some places that needed to be addressed, patches, and that work was done...and we were assured we wouldn't have any problems this season," said Freeman.

But last night the repairs didn't work, and a game between two NBA teams in playoff contention had to be called.

"I've been a baseball fan my whole life, never had an NBA rain delay. C coolest thing I witnessed," said Pelicans' fan Chris Gomez.

People who left last night disappointed, but the team gave them tickets to another game, which they hope will go off as scheduled.

"We have another Pelicans game next Valentine's day, and we are confident the roof will be repaired, and the ball floor is in good shape, so we should be fine," said Freeman.

This summer, the arena roof was scheduled to get a new cover, which will likely be similar to the polyurethane shell on the roof of the Superdome next door.

"We are not going to replace the roof, we will re-coat the roof," said Freeman.

Meantime, the arena manager said roofers will make temporary repairs in time for the Pelicans to finish their season and for the Smoothie King Center to host several other big events.

Freeman said he's sent more than a dozen available dates to the NBA so that the Pelicans-Pacers game can be re-scheduled.

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