Unseasonably warm temperatures caused condensation to form on the floor of the TD Garden during Boston's 95-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Monday, leading to a brief delay as workers mopped the court to keep it dry late in the first quarter.
Rivers said the game was nearly stopped because of the condensation, which reminded him of the game from Nov. 28, 1990, when a tilt between the Celtics and Rivers' Hawks was halted with Boston out front, 37-22, 1:30 into the second quarter due to a slippery floor from similar conditions.
The Celtics and Hawks resumed play a month later with the Celtics emerging with a 132-104 triumph.
"The Celtics had the court wet on the Hawks' side, offensively, and got up by 30 and then called the game, which the people in Atlanta thought was very unfair at the time," said Rivers, who also joked Monday's game reminded him of a recent preseason game in Worcester that was canceled due to flooding.
Monday's game featured a short break with 2:28 to go in the first quarter.
"I was nervous, though. I really was," Rivers said. "[Referee] Joey [Crawford] was terrific. [Clippers coach] Mike [Dunleavy] and I came together and, at that point, we were very close. If anybody slipped in the next two minutes, the game was over. Joey was going to make that call. Mike said the same thing, we said it almost simultaneously, 'We can't afford a guy to get injured on this floor.'
"We're not used to 55-degree days in January."
Players for both sides complained about the conditions, noting it made for a slippery -- and dangerous -- track. Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace summed it up as "terrible."
"You can't put them brakes on when you want to because you didn't know if you're going to slip," Wallace said. "I saw a couple guys out there slipping like Peggy Flemming on ice. That's part of it when you play in arenas with ice under them."
Dunleavy said his players brought up the slippery conditions before the game, but felt the floor crew did a satisfactory job to help get the game in.
"We kept having to go out and wipe it. There were three kids on each end trying to wipe it, and it must have made it better because I didn't see guys [slip] -- we had four guys slip in that first quarter," Dunleavy said. "I don't know if anybody really did after that, so it worked out fine."
Rivers admitted the conditions improved in the second half as the arena temperature seemed to drop.
"I'll tell you what, it seemed like when we came out in the second half, it was cooler in the arena," Rivers said. "I don't know if they turned the air on. I don't know what happened, but it was better. The floor still was a little slippery, and that's just dangerous. But we got through it."