Gunfire and rock-throwing in the area of Miami Arena forced the postponement of Tuesday night's NBA game between the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns.
Lewis Schaffel, managing general partner of the Heat, said at 7:15 p.m. EST, 15 minutes before the start of the game, that it would not be played, on the recommendation of the Miami city manager and police chief."Their recommendation, for the safety of the fans, players and officials, is that we not play the game," Schaffel said. "We don't have the right to cancel; only the league can do that," Schaffel said. "After consulting with Commissioner David Stern, the league agreed to follow the recommendation that the game not be played."
The game will be rescheduled, Heat public relations director Mark Pray said.
The drive to the arena, located on the edge of Miami's Overtown area, gave game officials Joe Crawford, Jack Nies and Gary Benson a first-hand look at the violence. "We got hit by a rock," Crawford said. "I've got glass all over me" from a shattered car window. The three officials were showered with broken glass, and Crawford said Benson got some in his eye. "We're still pulling it out," Crawford said.
All players with the teams were at the arena, and about 100 fans were in the 15,000-seat facility when Schaffel made the announcement.
"We were inside when most of the stuff started," Suns' forward Armon Gilliam told TBS. "We heard some stuff outside." Gilliam said all the players left the building without incident. "More and more people came down (to the arena) and were throwing rocks and stuff," Gilliam said. "Thank God nobody got hurt."