NBA: Celtics-Heat game called off as COVID protocols deplete Heat
- COVID-19 related safety protocols left Miami Heat with too few players available
- The Heat's injury report listed Avery Bradley as out due to health and safety protocols
- The Heat are next scheduled to play Tuesday and Thursday in Philadelphia
The Eastern Conference face-off 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, AFP reported.
The Heat's Sunday afternoon COVID-19/injury report listed Avery Bradley as out due to health and safety protocols. The Athletic website further reported a Heat player had returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test.
Following additional 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.
This is the second NBA game of the season to be postponed because of coronavirus safety protocols.
Earlier, 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 too have been dealing with major 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 opined the Saturday's 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."