The NBA’s decision to cancel tonight’s Pacers-Celtics game at the TD Garden in the aftermath of the Bostn Marathon bombings Monday afternoon was the right move on every level.
>> The Garden is roughly 2 miles from the site of the Boston Marathon finish line bombings. A 15-block radius surrounding that Copley Square area has been shut down, so downtown traffic is effectively a gridlock. So a large number of fans that might’ve wanted to attend the game, even under these circumstances, would’ve found it extremely difficult if not impossible to reach the arena.
>> These attacks frequently encompass multiple targets, so there was no reason to risk the security of thousands, even if that risk was considered minimal.
>> The game itself carried virtually no meaning. Indiana is locked into the third seed. Boston is locked into the seventh seed. Both coaches planned to rest key starters, so it would’ve looked more like an October exhibition game than an April playoff tuneup. I would hope, even if seedings and matchups were on the line, the game would’ve been canceled.
>> And, ultimately, who in Boston – or Indianapolis, for that matter – really cares about a basketball game today?
I fully understand the games-must-go-on mentality. It’s the primary act of defiance sports fans have in a situation like this, the only gesture we can make to show our will, our strength, our way of life, has not been broken.
In this case, however, there simply was no point, nothing to be gained, much to be lost, and the gesture would’ve been hollow.
The Pacers were fortunate to escape the danger. They normally stay at a hotel very near Copley Square but it was not available due to the Marathon, so they stayed a few miles away.
A practice was scheduled Monday afternoon at Emerson College, just a few blocks away from the site of the bombings, but was canceled. Coach Frank Vogel instead directed a team outing to Fenway Park for the 11 a.m. Red Sox game, which ended about an hour before the bombs detonated.
Paul George and media information director David Benner both walked over to the area near the finish line to check out the Patriots’ Day scene, but both had departed before the explosions. Sam Young and Orlando Johnson also checked out the Marathon but avoided the carnage.
George, Young and Roy Hibbert both took to Twitter to express their feelings.
Hibbert: “We live in a (messed) up world. Simple things like running or supporting people in a marathon. Or taking your kids to school you feel unsafe”
Young: “Wow, me and my teammate were at that marathon supporting them runners, God Bless all that was hurt and affected by this explosion!”
George: “Crazy how I went to go check out the Boston Marathon race earlier today … Such a great event turned into a tragedy! #Pray4Boston”
The team was scheduled to return to Indianapolis today, with the regular-season finale tomorrow against Philadelphia in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Should you attend the game, or go to the airport, or visit a school, when you go through the metal detector, raise your arms for the wand or hand your bag over to be inspected, say a prayer not just for Boston, but for us all.