NBA’s Celtics-Heat game postponed as Covid measures deplete Heat

Published January 11, 2021, 9:12 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics makes a pass against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on January 08, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

The NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat was postponed on Sunday as Covid-19 related safety protocols left the Heat with too few players available.

“Because of ongoing contact tracing with the Heat, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with tonight’s game against the Celtics,” the NBA said in a statement.

The Heat’s Sunday afternoon injury report listed Avery Bradley as out due to health and safety protocols. The Athletic website reported a Heat player had returned an inconclusive Covid-19 test.

After further NBA contact-tracing measures, enough players were deemed to have been at risk of exposure to force postponement of the game.

The Celtics had already said they would have the minimum eight players in uniform with seven of their players absent due either to positive or inconclusive tests or threat of exposure.

It is the second NBA game this season to be postponed because of coronavirus safety protocols.

A game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed in the first week of the campaign when contact-tracing measures and injuries left the Rockets with fewer than eight available players.

The Celtics and Heat played each other in Miami last Wednesday. Since then, Boston’s scoring leader Jayson Tatum and blocked shots leader Robert Williams have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

Also sidelined Sunday due to NBA virus health and safety protocols were Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Javonte Green, Semi Ojeleye, Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams.

Both the Celtics and Heat had played since their most recent clash.

The Heat are next scheduled to play Tuesday and Thursday in Philadelphia, where the 76ers have been dealing with coronavirus-related absences.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said he had to put an injured player in uniform to have the minimum eight players available for a home game against Denver on Saturday, which the Nuggets won handily 115-103.

Rivers said Saturday he thought the game should be postponed.

And Nuggets coach Mike Malone, who was without Michael Porter because of a Covid-related quarantine, said he thought the league was “going to start seeing more of this.”

 
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