During an NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks, drama unfolded. As it turned out, an earthquake interrupted play during the Summer League match in Las Vegas.

The Pelicans were leading 80-74 when play was stopped. That earthquake was one of a series of quakes hitting the United States in the past few days.

A massive earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale rocked southern California, just a day after a 6.4-magnitude tremor hit the US state, the strongest in 20 years.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the quake that hit the state at 8.19 p.m. on Friday was near Ridgercrest, a city located 272 km north of Los Angeles.

Thursday‘s quake jolted a remote area in California’s Searles Valley. It produced more than 1,400 aftershocks, scientists said.

As a result, Zion Williamson had his New Orleans Pelicans debut against the New York Knicks cut short. The game was called off during the fourth quarter because of the effects of the California earthquake.

The 19-year-old was the number one pick in last month’s NBA draft and scored 11 points in Las Vegas before he went off with a knee injury in the first half.

Zion Williamson

The main concern was an overhead scoreboard in the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Safety comes first, second, third,” said Summer League executive director Warren LeGarie, speaking to NBA.com.

There were seven minutes 53 seconds left in the game when it was stopped. Friday’s late match at the same arena between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets was also cancelled.

“I was bringing the ball up and it felt like someone was pushing my hip, like I kind of leaned this way, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, what is going on?'” New Orleans guard Frank Jackson said. “And then I just saw everything shaking.”

The earthquake, which had its epicentre near the city of Ridgecrest in southern California, about 200 miles from Las Vegas, which is in the neighbouring state of Nevada, was the biggest tremor to strike in two decades.