The New Orleans Pelicans tipoff was delayed on Wednesday night because of rain dripping onto the court.

A small leak in the roof allowed rain to gather near the free throw line, delaying a 7 p.m. tipoff for player safety concerns.

“We don’t know what the cause is,” SMG general manager Alan Freeman said. “This didn’t reveal itself until the players left the court for their early shootarounds. We had no problems at that point in time. The best I can tell, the rain started coming in at 6:30.

“The problem with a roof leak is you never really know exactly where the intrusion is coming from. It could be 100 feet from where the water is actually dripping in right now. It’s not really possible for us to repair the roof tonight.”

Instead, the SMG crew opted to build a temporary catch basin to contain the leak and keep it off of the court until the night ended. Freeman said the crew will remain in place for the entirety of the game, operating the catch basin.

The Pelicans neither own nor operate the Smoothie King Center.

“We have experienced these kinds of things before and we have been able to come up with these kinds of short term solutions before,” Freeman said. “So, I’m optimistic.”

Freeman admitted it was frustrating because the roof recently underwent inspections.

“We did spend a good bit sum of money patching up some areas we were able to identify,” Freeman said. “This caught us totally by surprise.”