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California earthquake shakes NBA summer league games

Zion Williamson (R) leaves the court with his New Orleans Pelicans teammates after an earthquake forced a game against the New York Knicks to be postponed © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / Ethan Miller

LOS ANGELES, United States, Jul 6 – The New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans summer league exhibition game in Las Vegas was postponed Friday night after an earthquake rattled a large section of California and western Nevada.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which was centred about 230 kilometres (145 miles) southwest of the city, hit the Thomas & Mack Center with just under eight minutes left in the contest, leaving the giant scoreboard and several overhead speakers swaying above the court.

Officials initially decided to delay the game and the players were sent to their dressing rooms.

Some fans left the arena after the quake — which lasted 10 seconds — and others waited around to see if it was safe to resume the game.

New Orleans was leading 80-74 when play was postponed.

Pelicans rookie and first overall draft pick Zion Williamson had to exit the game in the first half with an knee injury after colliding with a another player.

A basketball game in the nearby Cox Pavilion continued because that gym lacks an overhead scoreboard.

The earthquake was also felt at the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame awards in Las Vegas, striking in the middle of a speech by inductee Rashad Evans.

“I’m feeling it. Woo. OK. Earthquake baby!” said Evans from the podium.

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Other NBA athletes in Las Vegas reacted to the earthquake on Twitter.

“Just experienced my first earthquake while being on the 21st floor of a hotel. Talk about scary,” said Atlanta Hawks player Evan Turner.

Portland Trail Blazers player Meyers Leonard was woken up from a nap in his hotel.

“I can hardly believe what I just felt. Wow. I had just woke up from a nap and the entire hotel was swaying back and forth. That was actually crazy,” Leonard said.

In Los Angeles, the quake struck as the San Diego Padres’ Eric Lauer prepared to pitch to the Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez.

Some fans got up out of their seats, but the Major League Baseball game continued uninterrupted.

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