Coronavirus wreaks havoc in NBA duels for Christmas

Good health and jubilation are over.

Both are in short supply in the NBA this Christmas, especially for the 10 teams that will play on the holiday.

The superstars will be absent. And the allegedly dominant teams are struggling.

The games will continue their march, which is the most important thing during a time when the NBA has been forced to postpone nine of them due to the increase in coronavirus infections.

However, they are likely to continue without Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young, all of them in NBA health and safety protocols in the days leading up to a five-game matchday. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has come off protocols, but his appearance against Boston is not guaranteed.

“You don’t want to lose anybody, whether it’s to injury, to COVID illness, and things like that,” said Milwaukee star Khris Middleton. “I wish they were all available to play. But for now we only have to play with the cards we have. You have to go out there and perform and compete. Hopefully the fans enjoy what is offered on the pitch. “

It’s not going to be anything like what NBA fans – or sports fans in general – envisioned when they thought about this holiday season.

The sport has not been able to evade the rebound of the coronavirus caused by the omicron variant. College football bowls have been canceled, many college teams have been forced to suspend their playoff games, NFL players have been sent to lockdown, and the NHL has advanced its Christmas break – and its players will not be able to compete in the Games. Winter Olympics in Beijing early next year.

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In the NBA, more than 100 players have entered the protocols, which has forced teams in some cases to hire other players just to have the minimum of eight required by the league to hold games. As the disabled list increased during December, with the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls each having 10 players in the protocols at times, questions were raised as to whether the league should better stop the season momentarily.

“The league is in a tough situation,” acknowledged Nets coach Steve Nash. “Do you suspend it and extend it? Or what to do? Because one could suspend it and still the west coast of the country could theoretically be hit by the virus later on and then what? Suspend it again? That is why I understand that it is difficult to navigate, as there is no correct answer and there are many factors to consider ”.

His Nets visit the Lakers in primetime on the card. The other meetings: Atlanta in New York, Boston in Milwaukee, Golden State in Phoenix, and Dallas in Utah.

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