NBA Health protocols affecting a lot of teams
The NBA has had to postpone Sunday’s match between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, and the league is under increasing pressure to do something about the impact of the COVID-related health protocols.
This is the second game to be postponed this season, with the match between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder on December 24 also having been affected.
The Celtics were coming into Sunday’s match against the Heat with just eight players available – the minimum laid out by the NBA – despite six of these being guards. This meant that seven players were out due to the COVID-19 protocols.
Yet, the reason for the game being called off is because of contact tracing concerns within the Heat. Miami guard Avery Bradley had an inconclusive test, so team officials had to go through the contact tracing data. As such, on Sunday afternoon, the NBA took the decision to call of the match.
“You are starting to see what is going on in our country directly affect the NBA because we are no longer in that safety net of the bubble,” Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after hearing of the Celtics vs Heat postponement.
Just one night earlier, on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers played with just seven players in their loss to the Nuggets. They had eight players available, but coach Doc Rivers did not want to play Mike Scott, who has only just returned from injury.
Despite the inconvenience this is all causing, the NBA does not have plans to temporarily suspend the season. Nor are there immediate plans to head back to the bubble, which worked so effectively for the final few games of last season and the playoffs.