The second game of the NBA season to be postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be Sunday’s Celtics-Heat game. Boston came in with just eight players available, meeting the minimum requirement but would have been without stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but an inconclusive test result for Miami will actually be what causes the postponement, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game tonight has been postponed, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. A Heat player has returned an inconclusive test, and team does not have required eight players to proceed with game tonight due to contact tracing.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 10, 2021
As Charania reports, contact tracing from the inconclusive test has led the Heat to having not enough players eligible to play — this comes after Avery Bradley was ruled out earlier in the morning. It’s the first postponement since the Rockets openers against the Thunder, but Miami and Boston are not the only teams dealing with COVID-19 issues at the moment. The Nets will be getting Kevin Durant back after a 7-day quarantine on Sunday afternoon and the Sixers recently played a game with seven players (the eighth “eligible” player was Mike Scott who did not play) after Seth Curry returned a positive test in the middle of their game in Brooklyn, which he was on the bench but not playing, last week.
The reality of the situation for the NBA is become readily apparent, as they are seeing numerous positives and contact tracing, which to be clear is critical and important to do to limit the spread, is wreaking havoc on rosters and making every night something of a mystery. Still, the league is adamant about pressing forward, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
ESPN Sources: While the Celtics-Heat game has been postponed tonight, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 10, 2021
Prior to the season, the league refused to put a set number of cases or define the situation that would lead to an all-out stoppage of the season. One does have to wonder at what point they would have to take that into consideration, but for now they’ll continue just trying to get through as much as they can and postpone games when absolutely necessary, as has become the case in Boston tonight.