The NBA postponed the Brooklyn Nets versus Portland Trail Blazers game on Thursday night at the Moda Center in downtown Portland due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Nets have 10 players in COVID health and safety protocols and don’t have the minimum eight players required to play a game.
The Nets/Trail Blazers postponement marked the third straight Nets game that the NBA postponed and rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Since the weekend began, the Nets had home games against the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards postponed. The Nets were scheduled to head out West for a three-game road trip against the Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, and LA Clippers.
All three members of their Big 3 — including James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving — tested positive for COVID and are currently unavailable.
Irving has yet to play a game this season due to his hardliner COVID anti-vaccination stance. New York City’s health mandate states that only vaccinated people can enter gyms, so Irving can’t practice or play in home games. He floated the idea of playing away games only, but the Nets balked.
In the last week, the Nets faced a dire situation without enough players to field a team. The team came to an agreement with Irving and decided he could play in road games. However, the moment he was set to join the team, he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Nets (21-9) occupy the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are also the consensus favorites to win the 2022 NBA championship. You can back them at +250 odds over at the Circa Casino in Las Vegas.
Christmas quintuple-header in jeopardy?
The NBA scheduled a quintuple-header for Christmas with a festive day of nonstop basketball beginning at noon ET. However, the Nets vs. Lakers game might not happen if the Nets are unable to find eight healthy players. The Lakers host the Nets at 8 pm ET in a prime-time matchup on Christmas.
The NBA issued a memo to all teams scheduled to play on Christmas stating that their initial tip-off times could be changed due to potential COVID postponements. After all, the NBA on Christmas is a television show, and you know the show business mantra: the show must go on!
If the Nets are unable to play the Lakers on Saturday, then the NBA could move the Dallas Mavericks/Utah Jazz game into prime time on ABC. The Mavs/Jazz were scheduled as the last game on the slate and set for 10:30 pm ET on ESPN. The suits at Disney could also move the New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks game into prime time. The Knicks/Hawks were scheduled to tip-off at noon ET on ESPN.
The NBA postponed eight games in the last week while struggling to contain multiple COVID outbreaks on various teams. The Chicago Bulls had several games postponed last week when they failed to have eight players available for games.
Meanwhile, the NHL has taken a cautious approach. They sent their players on Christmas break early, giving them two extra days to try and slow down multiple outbreaks. The NHL also denied its players a chance to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China in February.
Last week, the NFL rescheduled games for the first time this season. Week 15 included two games on Monday and two more on Tuesday.