Heat-Pistons game delayed 5 hours to allow for additional COVID-19 testing
MIAMI (AP) — Monday’s game in Miami between the Heat and the Detroit Pistons was pushed back five hours, with the league and teams making that decision so additional COVID-19 testing could be processed.
The game was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. EST and was pushed back to 8 p.m, the league announced Monday afternoon.
It’s the latest development, albeit a relatively minor one, as a wave of schedule changes in the NBA has now stretched into a second week. The league has postponed 13 games involving 18 teams since Jan. 10, including one matchup that was to have taken place on Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day game schedule — Cleveland at Washington.
Phoenix was scheduled to play Monday in Memphis, ending a weeklong unplanned break for the Suns. Phoenix had three games delayed because of virus-related issues, which can include players dealing with positive COVID-19 tests, inconclusive tests or having to quarantine because contact tracing indicated they could have been exposed to someone who tested positive.
There have been 14 games called this season for coronavirus-related reasons so far. In addition to the 13 in recent days, the other was a planned Dec. 23 matchup between Oklahoma City and Houston that was pushed back because the Rockets did not have enough eligible players.
Delaying the Heat-Pistons start time did not affect Detroit’s travel schedule. The team was already planning to remain in Miami until Tuesday.
Postponed games, when possible, will be made up in the second half of the season, which will take place from March 11 — the one-year anniversary of last season shutting down because of the pandemic — through May 16. The league has not yet released that half of the schedule and isn’t expected to do so until late February at the earliest.