NBA postpones five games over Covid-19 concerns
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Los Angeles - The NBA announced the postponement of five games on Sunday amid a rising tide of Covid-19 cases around the league.
Three of the nine games scheduled for Sunday were postponed: Denver at Brooklyn, Cleveland at Atlanta and New Orleans at Philadelphia.
In addition, Orlando's game at Toronto scheduled for Monday and Washington at Brooklyn scheduled for Tuesday were postponed.
"The next games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers, as well as the next two games for the Brooklyn Nets, have been postponed because of players and staff members entering NBA health and safety protocols," the league said in a statement.
The move comes after ESPN reported that five Cavaliers players, including center Jarrett Allen, tested positive for Covid-19, joining Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro on the list of players unavailable in Covid-19 protocols.
The Cavaliers won a sixth straight game on Saturday, beating the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks who were without star Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis and Donte DiVincenzo -- all sidelined over Covid-19.
The Nets already had a league-high 10 players sidelined over Covid as of Sunday morning.
That included stars Kevin Durant and James Harden along with Kyrie Irving -- who has yet to make his season debut after declining to be vaccinated.
The team said Friday it would change course and allow Irving to play road games. He cannot play in Brooklyn's Barclays Center because of vaccine mandates in New York.
The Nets had the league-minimum eight players available Saturday for their game against Orlando. The Magic, who had just nine players in uniform, beat the Eastern Conference leaders 100-93.
The 76ers, who are battling numerous injuries, saw two key reserves sidelined over Covid on Sunday in Shake Milton and Andre Drummond, who joined George Niang in the health protocols.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young was also placed in protocols, as was Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
Young was the only Hawks player sidelined over Covid, coach Nate McMillan told reporters in Atlanta on Sunday.
The Lakers said assistant David Fizdale would be on the sideline in place of Vogel when the Lakers played at the Chicago Bulls later in the day.
The Bulls were scheduled to be back in action after having two games postponed last week amid a rash of cases in the team. Those were the first games cancelled amid a nationwide coronavirus surge.