Boston led 36-33 at halftime when the game was called because of condensation forming from ice beneath the floor. The 25-year-old city-owned facility is home to the AHL's Worcester Sharks, an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
"The players felt like they were risking injury by playing on the court," said Danny Ainge, the Celtics' director of basketball operations. "They didn't feel like they could get any footing and they were slipping and sliding, so it was pretty unanimous among the players and the officials and the coaches that the game should be called."
He said the dampness was noticed earlier in the day, when the outside temperature reached 71 degrees, but it seemed to improve before game time.
"It was slippery this morning," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Both teams wanted to play, but you have to use caution. As people got in the building, it got warmer and warmer, so we didn't feel comfortable going on."
Ray Allen sparked a 13-0 first-quarter run with consecutive 3-pointers as Boston took a 21-8 lead. New Jersey's Gamin Jones scored nine in the second quarter.
"It was pretty slick, we talked about it before the game and we knew that it would be hard to play with that element," Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said
An official met with both teams at halftime, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said they all agreed to cancel the game.
"It was the perfect storm, in a bad way," Rivers said. "Who would have thought the temperature would reach 70 degrees in late October?"
Celtics management hurriedly arranged an autograph session for the disappointed fans in the crowd of 10,600, but ended it after about 20 minutes because of security concerns.
"People get excited," Garnett said. "We did what we could do. ... They got some autographs, they got some conversation and we all got out of there safe."
The offseason acquisitions of Garnett and Allen have generated excitement among the fans of a team that hasn't won an NBA title since 1986.
"I think what happened was we tried to make a quick plan to try to sign autographs for fans, but when the fans tried to line up quickly, there wasn't really enough room and they had to spill onto the court," Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.
Because of the surge of people, the team ended the session for safety reasons, he said, but there was no disorder.
"We thought the fans were terrific. They were as understanding as they could be. But Mother Nature threw us a curveball," Twiss said. "The fans were disappointed. We're disappointed because we couldn't finish the game."
John LeHair, director of marketing for the DCU center, declined immediate comment Friday night.
The Celtics pledged either a full refund or 50 percent discount on a ticket if fans requested it.