The Senators-Bruins game scheduled for last night was called off hours after the Boston Marathon bombings, and tonight's Pacers-Celtics game was the next to go. While the hockey will be made up, Indiana and Boston will finish the season with just 81 games played—and that's a first.
According to STATS, this will be the only time in NBA history that not every team has played the same number of games.
Both Boston and Indiana are locked into their playoff seeds, the seven and the three respectively, so the outcome of the game didn't matter. The regular season ends Wednesday, and both teams are in action. So it's pointless and impossible to make up tonight's game, set to air nationally on TNT, and no one seems to be too upset—the best players were going to sit out anyway.
Except maybe Jeff Green. He's played every game this year after returning from heart surgery, and tells the Herald, “playing all 82 games, that’s my goal." He'll have to settle for 81.
As of last night, the Pacers were trying to get a charter flight back to Indianapolis.
Bruins and Senators players began to be informed that they game was off around two hours after the bombings. (An official statement was released around 6:00.) There was confusion, the Globe reports. Some players knew—others, like Jaromir Jagr, didn't find out until they entered the locker room. Media relations staffers doggedly kept reporters away from the players, kicking them out of the dressing room area, even interrupting an attempted interview with Tuukka Rask.
There was no way a hockey game could have been played. Even forgetting the absurdity of holding a sporting event on such an emotionally draining day, crowd control would have been impossible. Boston couldn't have spared the security personnel to search bags and pat down 18,000 attendees. And it's hard to imagine many of those fans would have wanted to gather in the arena, at a time police were telling residents to avoid large groups.
The Celtics won't return to the TD Garden until the third game of their playoff series with the Knicks. So, then, the very next sporting event in Boston will be the Bruins game on Wednesday evening. They'll be hosting the Sabres, and it'll be cathartic and tearful and memorable in the way that sporting events following tragedies always are.