Dallas Mavericks

Memphis arena evacuated before Mavericks-Grizzlies game

Retired NBA basketball player Earl Monroe speaks as he and fellow former players Jason Collins and Chauncy Billups are honored as part of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 13th annual MLK Day celebration on Monday.
Retired NBA basketball player Earl Monroe speaks as he and fellow former players Jason Collins and Chauncy Billups are honored as part of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 13th annual MLK Day celebration on Monday. AP

A scary situation occurred prior to Monday’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies when the FedExForum was evacuated after the fire alarm went off.

Security personnel cleared everyone out of the building, including the players who were in the midst of their pregame routines. In fact, players, coaches and other team personnel from the Mavs and Grizzlies all huddled on the same bus.

“I went on the bus with [Grizzlies swingman] Tony Allen — in his bathrobe,” coach Rick Carlisle said.

And what did Mavs center Greg Smith think of Allen’s choice of fashion?

“He looked like Bruh-Man from Martin,” Smith said.

The alarm was set off by smoke from a kitchen in the arena.

So what was Carlisle’s level of concern about the evacuation?

“I wasn’t concerned, but it’s good to know that had there been a real emergency that it was being handled properly,” he said.

“It was a pretty level-headed thing and they were just following the processes that are in place, which is what they have to do.”

On Monday, America observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The holiday especially has a strong meaning in Memphis because it is the city where King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Thus, when the building was evacuated, forward Charlie Villanueva wondered if it had anything to do with MLK.

“For sure it crosses your mind, especially the fact that this is the day we’re honoring him and this is the city where he did get killed,” Villanueva said. “But I’m glad everyone is safe and nothing really happened.”

J.J. Barea certainly has first-hand knowledge of an arena being evacuated. About an hour before the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs were scheduled to play at the Mexico City Arena on Dec. 4, 2013, the building had to be evacuated after a generator malfunctioned and filled the building with smoke, causing chaos.

“Smoke was coming out of the tunnels while we were shooting [during pregame warmups],” said Barea, who was playing for Minnesota at the time. “It was scary, but they found out in time, so we were able to get out of there.”

The game, as part of the NBA’s Global Games, was postponed and later played April 8, 2014, at the Target Center in Minnesota.

Rondo comes up big

Rajon Rondo got into early foul trouble and wasn’t much of a factor Monday.

But with the game on the line he nailed two baskets, grabbed an offensive bound and distributed an assist to Monta Ellis that helped the Mavs beat the Grizzlies 103-95.

“He’s a big-time player, and big-time players make plays down the stretch,” center Tyson Chandler said. “He’s not going to always put up the huge numbers that are going to wow you, stat-wise.

“But he’s one of those guys that you want with you in the trenches when you know the game is on the line, because he’s going to do something to make an impact in the game.”

Three players honored

Ex-NBA players Jason Collins, Chauncey Billups and Earl Monroe were honored before Monday’s game as recipients of the Sports Legacy Award.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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