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Suns’ summer league opener canceled after earthquake hits Vegas

Players and staff leave the court after an earthquake during an NBA summer league basketball game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

LAS VEGAS — The Phoenix Suns’ summer league opener scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday night was postponed and then later canceled after an earthquake was felt in the arena.

The Suns were set to play the Denver Nuggets in Thomas & Mack Center following the conclusion of the game between the New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans when an earthquake occurred in the early third quarter.

The scoreboard and speakers hanging above the court were swaying back and forth while hundreds of fans hurried to the exits.

A lengthy delay occurred before an announcement was made that the Knicks and Pelicans would resume the game. After another delay, it was announced that the rest of the game was postponed, along with the Suns’ game.

The remaining game in the other gym, the COX Pavillion, was set to be finished due to there being no concern of a hanging scoreboard over the court. 

The Suns were originally going to play their game later Friday night once the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs finished in COX Pavillion but that plan was quickly scrapped. Once the third quarter ended between the Magic and Spurs, that game was also postponed.

The NBA announced later Friday night Phoenix’s game would not be played at a later date and was canceled.

The earthquake with a magnitude as large as 7.1 jolted much of California, cracked buildings, set fires, broke roads and caused several injuries, authorities said.

The quake — preceded by Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude temblor in the Mojave Desert — was the largest Southern California temblor in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks.

It hit at 8:19 p.m. and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest in the same areas where the previous quake hit. But it was felt as far north as Sacramento, as far east as Las Vegas and as far south as Mexico.

The Suns’ next scheduled game is on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. against the Knicks.

With the league’s moratorium period set to end at 9 a.m. on Saturday, it is expected that Phoenix’s draft-day trades will officially go through and the team’s selections of Cam Johnson and Ty Jerome will join the summer league team.

Jerome and Johnson were not on the team’s original roster, meaning the duo should debut with the rest of the team on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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