Warriors-Nuggets postponed as Covid roils NBA
Los Angeles (AFP) – The NBA's cancellation of Thursday's marquee matchup between Golden State and Denver because of the Nuggets' lack of available players sparked a sharp response from Warriors star Draymond Green.
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The game in Denver, one of four on Thursday's schedule, was called off hours before tipoff after a spate of Covid-19 cases left the Nuggets without the requisite eight players.
Green, who would not have been available for Golden State because of Covid concerns, took issue with the 11th postponement of the season, saying the league's insistence on pressing ahead with the season but cancelling games piecemeal was unfair.
"How do you continue to cancel games when you've implemented rules to prevent this from happening?" Green said on Twitter. "Is that not a competitive advantage for other teams?
"The guys we didn’t have due to the protocol list played no role in Tuesdays loss? Pick a side but don’t straddle the fence."
Green was among the Warriors absentees when Golden State came up short in an 89-86 loss to the Nuggets in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Now, he said, a rescheduled game will likely add a back-to-back to the Warriors schedule and let the Nuggets play the Western Conference co-leaders "at full strength ... But they got to sneak a win when we weren't at full strength, only two days ago???
"Let's make it make some sense here."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has insisted he sees no reason to pause the season amid the Omicron-fueled surge in Covid cases across the United States.
In a bid to keep the season going, the NBA has made it easier for teams to call up players on short-term contracts from the developmental league.
In the wake of new CDC guidelines, the league reduced the number of days that vaccinated, asymptomatic players who test positive must isolate before they can return to play.
But the sheer number of cases means some teams have still been caught out as Covid combines with mid-season injuries to sideline players.
The Miami Heat's scheduled game at San Antonio on Wednesday was postponed because the Heat couldn't come up with eight players.
That didn't sit well with Atlanta's Trae Young, who noted that the Hawks have soldiered on with a patch-work team despite multiple Covid absences.
"I was just confused," Young said. "We had like four guys fly in (Tuesday) night just to make the roster and play. We were able to find a way.
"Other teams have gotten games postponed and are waiting on guys to get back."
Young has returned from his spell on the Covid absentee list, but the depleted Hawks are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
With 15 players missing because of Covid or injury, a Hawks team bolstered by replacement players fell 131-117 to Chicago on Wednesday.
Rivers out for 76ers
Later Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers were to take on the Nets in Brooklyn with assistant Dan Burke guiding the team after Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was placed in Covid protocols.
The 76ers hoped Shake Milton would be cleared to return, but Tyler Johnson and Myles Powell were ruled out by Covid concerns.
The Nets, meanwhile, were looking forward to the return of superstar Kevin Durant, who hasn't played since December 16 against the 76ers.
The Eastern Conference-leading Nets have already welcomed back star James Harden after a Covid outbreak in the team that saw three of their games postponed earlier this month.
© 2021 AFP