The New Orleans Pelicans salvaged a home-court split with the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night with a bit of help from above. But it wasn’t divine intervention. Instead, it was literally lights out in New Orleans late in the third quarter of the Pelicans’ 108–103 victory. Warriors star Stephen Curry, meanwhile, never seemed to turn the lights back on after the delay.
The win allowed New Orleans to climb within two games of the final play-in spot in the Western Conference and three games behind both the Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. Golden State and Memphis are currently in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Curry, who has been on a torrid run over the last six weeks, went from white-hot to ice-cold. It was almost like flicking a light switch.
Stephen Curry has been on an out-of-this-world run
Before the incident with the lights with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter, Curry was again on fire. He already had 35 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-14 from deep. He and Andrew Wiggins had accounted for 53 of Golden State’s 77 points to that point. The Warriors not named Curry or Wiggins were a combined 10-for-27 from the floor.
Tuesday marked the 17th time in his last 19 games Curry had scored at least 30 points. He appeared to be a lock for his seventh 40-point outburst in that stretch. The Warriors need everything they can get from Curry as they – at the very least – try to hold off Memphis for a place in the No. 7 vs. No. 8 win-and-in game of the play-in tournament.
Entering Tuesday’s game, Curry had shot 50.8% overall and 45.9% from 3-point range since March 29. The Warriors, meanwhile, were 11-8 in that stretch. Curry did not play against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on April 2, a game the Warriors lost 130–77. The first 32 minutes against New Orleans was just a continuation of Curry’s incredibly hot (even for a two-time MVP) run.
It was lights out at Smoothie King Arena and for Curry
The problems for the Warriors began after the lights came back on. The Pelicans outscored Golden State 37–26 over the last 15:58 of the game. Curry was just 1-for-11 and misfired on all six of his attempts behind the arc. If you follow the plus/minus statistics, he was a team-worst minus-13 during that span.
It’s not as if the rest of the Warriors set the Pelicans ablaze. Golden State hit 10-of-31 to close the game out and turned the ball over seven times. That is some lottery-quality offensive efficiency, even with the small sample size. Curry said the light problem was a first for him, and it happened while he was preparing to take a shot.
“I hadn’t seen that one before,” Curry told Nick Friedell of ESPN. “They tried to get me saying I shot it before the lights went out. But it’s a weird situation because we were flowing a little bit, and I guess kinda after that it was kind of a rough offensive situation but – a tough game all the way around.”
The company that manages Smoothie King Center, ASM Global, blamed the glitch on a “brief technical error,” per ESPN.
Stephen Curry compared the incident to another Big Easy dimming
Tuesday night wasn’t the longest or most famous incident of light failure during a sporting event in New Orleans. Stephen Curry recalled what happened at the adjacent Mercedes-Benz Superdome during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. The game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers was delayed for 22 minutes when part of the stadium went dark. But Curry refused to blame the incident outright for his late struggles.
“It’s hard to say,” Curry said of the delay’s impact. “But it wasn’t as long as that one that happened in the Super Bowl that one year. But it was kind of weird just in general.”
Over the years, there have been several sporting events affected by power outages. The Worldwide Power Products website listed a few of them, including a 2012 match between the national soccer teams from Argentina and Brazil. Fog inside Boston Garden knocked out the power and wiped out Game 4 of the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals.
In 1977, a Major League Baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets was interrupted when most of New York City went dark. The Mets put out a less-than-serious video detailing the incident that lives on at YouTube.
Shooting is all about rhythm, or so every great shooter says. The lights going out in the middle of a shot has to be a disruption, even for a shooter like Stephen Curry.