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Was what happened to the electricity for AC in NBA finals game suspicious?

Was what happened to the electricity for AC in NBA finals game suspicious?

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  #1  
Old 06-06-14, 11:43 AM
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Was what happened to the electricity for AC in NBA finals game suspicious?

As many of you probably know, last night (June 5, 2014), some time before the first game of the National Basketball Association's Championship Round got under way, the electrical supply for the entire air conditioning system of the arena "failed" in some unspecified way. Considering that the location was San Antonio, Texas, it's not surprising that in short order the arena became intolerably hot.

The best player on the opposing team, LeBron James, is known to have a propensity for cramping--disabling cramping, in fact--even when the heat is not extreme. And so, quite predictably, LeBron suffered muscle cramps in the final minutes (when the temperature on the court was reported to have exceeded 90 degrees) so severe that he was forced out of the game, never to return. His team, the Miami Heat, went from two points ahead at the moment of his departure to 15 points behind by the time the game ended.

We don't know (and may never know) if the initial electrical failure was genuine or not. But even assuming that it was, it seems to me the inability of the experts to restore the flow of electricity to the air conditioning over such a very long time-- a period starting from at least an hour before the game until after the end of the game two or three hours later-- would at least arouse the suspicions of any reasonable person, considering the powerful motive the Spurs ownership would have to deliberately repair the problem as slowly as possible, i.e. the highly likely disbling of the opposing team's best player.

But I am most definitely not an expert myself, and so I ask the members of this forum who are: what do you think? How plausible is it that a repair could take so long for entirely legitimate reasons? And how many people would have to "conspire" in order to delay the repair until after the game ended? Could one critically-placed person throw a monkey wrench into the process and effectively delay the repair without the other workers knowing?

I await the verdict of the experts.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-06-14, 01:36 PM
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No expert in LeBron James' physical attributes, but it would seem to me both teams were put under the same heat at the same time in the same arena. It would be too bad all the point garnering would be attributed to only one player since it should be a team effort. Pull him out of the game for a short period of time, I guess.

RTU failures aren't like turning a switch on and off. Sometimes it takes specialized analytic equipment, then parts may not be readily available at 9pm. I'll defer other comments to the others, however.
 
  #3  
Old 06-06-14, 02:25 PM
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If other electrical systems were still working (lights, scoreboard, PA, etc.) I doubt it was electrical failure. Otherwise other systems would be affected.

Typical repair of a simple A/C system can take many hours. A larger, multi stage unit only compounds the complexity of a repair. Plus, the chance of having the parts on hand to make the repair is a whole nother story.

This also reminds me of last week. A building maintenance guy calls me and asks if I can come do a service call right away because of a down roof top A/C unit. I was busy on another job and asked him to describe the problem. After some pictures and conversation I figure out it is some kind of "special" circuit breaker inside the unit that will not reset. This is nothing I have seen or can get from my supply house. Later on he told me they had to special order it direct from Trane.
 
  #4  
Old 06-06-14, 04:39 PM
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I know nothing about the game but I can say that having an "electrical failure" that affected only the cooling and nothing else is absolutely possible.

Large buildings or complexes of many buildings under the same management and the like most often have a central "chiller plant" that makes cold water and this cold water is circulated to fan coil units in the various buildings to provide cooling. Something the size of a basketball area may have forty or fifty fan coil units installed throughout the facility so if only one (or a few) of the units were to fail the results would probably not be noticeable except in cases where the design temperatures were exceeded.

However, the failure of a major component in the chiller plant could easily cause problems. Generally the equipment is in duplicate so that even if the refrigeration unit were to fail there is another "back-up" unit that can be used. Same with the various pumps and also the cooling towers. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the designers to size the equipment for an "average" load and that might require using BOTH the main and back-up units in parallel to meet the load under adverse conditions.

It is quite believable that the chiller plant has an electrical feeder separate from the arena itself. Each might have a high voltage supply from the utility with each having its own step-down transformer to supply the electrical loads. The failure of this transformer could "knock out" the chiller plant. Or it could be that one of the main chilled water circulating pumps was being overhauled and the other pump failed, leaving no back-up pump. It could have been a failure on a cooling tower fan motor or any of several possible problems.

Or, as Tolyn mentioned it could have been a problem with a circuit breaker. Often all the pumps and fans are fed power from a "motor control center" which is a cabinet with multiple circuit breakers and motor starters and fed from a single large source. It the circuit breaker on the source (or the transformer supplying the CB) were to fail then the whole plant goes down. Admittedly such failure is rare but it does happen.
 
  #5  
Old 06-06-14, 05:54 PM
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Not exactly the same, but when I was in the Navy, more than a few times we lost power when they were trying to switch generators. Understand, these are guys that do this all the time but sometimes things happen.

Sometimes we would go 1hr rocking in the waves til power was restored. Thats was loads of fun on a ship with a 16 ft draft and a round bottom.

If they wanted to take out the other teams (arguably) best player...why wait til there's 5 min left? Why not do it in the 3rd qtr?
 
  #6  
Old 06-06-14, 08:06 PM
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graviton, one can not expect instant repairs under any circumstances, conspiracy or not. The Miami team should be able to handle the heat as well as Texas. It wasn't Alaska vs Texas.
 
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Old 06-07-14, 08:36 AM
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How plausible is it that a repair could take so long for entirely legitimate reasons? And how many people would have to "conspire" in order to delay the repair until after the game ended?
Furd has a good handle on the cooling of a large facility such as a sports arena, multiple chillers and probably several thousand tons of chiller capacity is probably required for adequate cooling. They could have lost a transformer, a motor, a chiller, a feeder or even just a 2000 amp (or larger) switch to just a part of the chiller plant to cause a multiple day (or multiple week) repair event. Generally in facilities such as these, there are very few repairs that can be made in several hours. Chance are very good that a complete failure was not experienced, but being short a portion of the capactity would feel as if there was no cooling at all. I seriously doubt there was any conspiracy, but more likely a lack of maintenance or lack of a good preventive maintenance system that caused the failure.
 
  #8  
Old 06-07-14, 09:57 AM
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Hi, folks! I thought I'd give you an update on the electrical/AC outage in San Antonio that, I think, makes my suspicions appear to have been very well founded.

First, though, let me respond to some misconceptions that have arisen in the replies to my post.

To CasualJoe, who said, "Chances are very good that a complete failure was not experienced, but being short a portion of the capactity would feel as if there was no cooling at all." CasualJoe, all reports indicate that the entire AC machinery was shut down.

To Pulpo, who said, "graviton, one can not expect instant repairs under any circumstances, conspiracy or not. The Miami team should be able to handle the heat as well as Texas. It wasn't Alaska vs Texas." Pulpo, in professional basketball in the United States (as opposed to college or high school basketball in the US and professional basketball in Europe), teams never have to "handle the heat"-- ever since the old Boston Garden was replaced decades ago, all the NBA arenas have superb air conditioning. And, in any case, my point wasn't about the teams overall, just one player, who's commonly regarded as the best in the world but who has the known vulnerability to disabling cramps. It seemed eyebrow-raisingly "coincidental" that this incident should occur when it did, and the way it did. And Pulpo, we're not talking about a lack of "instant repairs"--many, many hours elapsed without it being fixed, although PRESUMABLY the San Antonio Spurs management was making the repair their top priority.

To Gunguy45, who said, "If they wanted to take out the other teams (arguably) best player...why wait til there's 5 min left? Why not do it in the 3rd qtr?" Gunguy45, they didn't wait!! The supposed electrical/AC problem occurred several hours before the start of the game. It was already conspicuously hot during the pre-game warm-ups. LeBron James, the superstar of superstars, and the one who got the cramps, deliberately cut short his warm-up because he foresaw, and dreaded, and tried to prevent what in fact eventually happened to him. I've seen (unconfirmed) reports that by the fourth period, when LeBron cramped up and was forced out of the game, the court-side temperature topped 106 degrees.

To Furd, who concluded by saying, "Admittedly such failure is rare but it does happen." So, Furd, my argument is that not only would what you call a "rare" failure have to have occurred, but then the experts would have to have been unable to fix it in time for the game, despite what one would expect would be an effort that would be reminiscent of the '44 Normandy Invasion in terms of manpower, focus, and intensity. How likely is it that a Normandy-sized effort would result in the Dunkirk-sized failure that we saw?

To Tolyn Ironhand, who said, "If other electrical systems were still working (lights, scoreboard, PA, etc.) I doubt it was electrical failure. Otherwise other systems would be affected." As skeptical as I am, every single official statement (and all unofficial sources) say it was strictly an electrical failure, so I'm willing to accept that fact. Of course, though I'm not questioning the nature of the failure, I AM questioning its authenticity, and, even more fervently questioning the authenticity of the repair effort.

To chandler, who said, "No expert in LeBron James' physical attributes, but it would seem to me both teams were put under the same heat at the same time in the same arena." Yes, but consider this analogy: what if the Spurs had supplied both teams with Gatorade secretly spiked with a quadruple dose of sugar, knowing the opposing team's best player had diabetes?

Now for the very interesting, very provocative (I think) update: During the course of yesterday, I periodically did quick Google searches to get more information on exactly what the cause of the problem had been. And, unprecedentedly in my experience, my Google searches yielded absolutely no information!! So this morning I turned to what my research determined to be the main newspaper of the city, the San Antonio Express-News. And I was shocked to learn the following:

While the electrical/AC problem had finally been fixed, there was a total, and I mean TOTAL, news black-out by the San Antonio Spurs and everyone involved in the repair regarding the cause of the problem or why it had taken so long to fix. Here are a few excerpts from the article: "the San Antonio Spurs have yet to respond to questions about why the units stopped running in the first place." And "Manzanillo and Bobby Perez, vice president of corporate communications for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, did not return phone messages." And "CPS Energy, the San Antonio utility that has workers on duty at all Spurs games, did not immediately respond to questions Friday." And "Laura Jesse, a spokeswoman for Bexar County, which owns the AT&T Center, referred questions to the Spurs' management company that is responsible for operating and maintaining the arena." (AT&T Center is the name of the arena.)

So the city's biggest newspaper asks appropriate, legitimate questions about what happened, and every single person in a position to know isn't talking. That speaks volumes!
 
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Old 06-07-14, 10:24 AM
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Yes, but consider this analogy: what if the Spurs had supplied both teams with Gatorade secretly spiked with a quadruple dose of sugar, knowing the opposing team's best player had diabetes?
Are we into "what ifs??" Lose like a man and move on.

As to the news reports and management reports, you left out some very important people.....the mechanical people who were dealing with the problem. You can ask all around the people who actually know what happened and will get a deer in the headlights look and statements that match Jay Carney's bumbling.
 
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Old 06-07-14, 12:54 PM
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To Furd, who concluded by saying, "Admittedly such failure is rare but it does happen." So, Furd, my argument is that not only would what you call a "rare" failure have to have occurred, but then the experts would have to have been unable to fix it in time for the game, despite what one would expect would be an effort that would be reminiscent of the '44 Normandy Invasion in terms of manpower, focus, and intensity. How likely is it that a Normandy-sized effort would result in the Dunkirk-sized failure that we saw?
Not at all. If the "news reports" are saying it was an electrical failure then it probably WAS an electrical failure. It could have been the utility's high voltage line, probably between 12,000 and 115,000 volts, that failed. It might have been the substation that dropped this primary voltage down to a lower level or it could have been one of several other transformers that served the chiller facility. NONE of these failures would be able to be repaired in just a few hours and this is especially so if it was equipment after the last utility-owned transformer. It is unlikely that a chiller plant serving an entertainment venue would be considered to be so critical that complete redundancy of every thing from the utility's primary to the last pump would be considered as the cost factor would be astronomical for an almost infinitesimal chance of it being necessary.

This event is what is normally called "an act of god" by insurance companies unless there is some definite event that triggered the failure. That event could have been as simple as a car crashing the fence around a substation and severely damaging a transformer or circuit breaker. Since no reports have been made attributing the failure to any man-made incident it IS most likely just a freak occurrence.

Like Chandler suggested, just man up and admit that your team lost, then get on with your life.
 
  #11  
Old 06-07-14, 01:31 PM
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Chandler has some very stern words for me: "Are we into "what ifs??" Lose like a man and move on."

And Furd is even more insistent that I shape up, as he too drags me off to the woodshed. Wow, just listen to the whistling of his lash: "Like Chandler suggested, just man up and admit that your team lost, then get on with your life."

Gentlemen, you're operating under a seriously mistaken assumption. I am NOT a Miami Heat fan. Nor did I have a bet on the game. Actually, though neither team is "my" team, to the extent that I have a rooting interest, I'm pulling for the old man, Tim Duncan, and his boys, the Spurs.

But far more intense than my desire for the Spurs to win is my curiosity about what happened. I'd be fascinated if the original failure was deliberately arranged by the Spurs, or, more likely, the repair was intentionally interfered with in order to cause exactly what happened to LeBron to happen. Now THAT would be a scandal you could sink your teeth into!!

Both of you guys are ignoring the monumental fact that NOT ONE PERSON INVOLVED WITH THE REPAIR, whether they be in management or in the field, has answered a single question about what happened, or why it took so long to repair. Furd, if any of the things you're conjecturing about had occurred, why on earth wouldn't they just say so? You may not be a basketball fan, but among NBA followers this outage is a huge event, and for all those who have the crucial information about it to remain silent is extremely peculiar, and to me has no legitimate explanation.
 
  #12  
Old 06-07-14, 01:45 PM
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graviton, I suggest you learn to use google. Several sites reported this as the problem:

According to building workers, an overheated circuit breaker was the culprit. Engineers in the bowels of the building were trying to get the breaker to cool down in the hopes that air conditioning could be restored.

If unsuccessful, the only other solution appeared to be installing a new circuit breaker on Saturday.
 
  #13  
Old 06-07-14, 02:54 PM
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"deliberately arranged by the Spurs"

Are you kidding? The entire Spurs team, yea the NBA for that matter doesn't contain enough brain matter to cause and orchestrate something like this to happen at the particular time it did. Sorry, no conspiracy took place. Just as we had interjected.....a failed mechanical part.

If any of the mods are watching, I think it is time to close this one. Non productive.
 
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Old 06-07-14, 04:29 PM
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Thread closed. Not DIY. Not beneficial.
 
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