When the NBA set their schedule to 72 games starting in late December, there were immediate concerns about the effects that Covid-19 could have on an already packed schedule. Now with the inevitable postponements of numerous games, the NBA decided it would adjust the remainder of the schedule to prevent having too many games packed into the second half of the season.
How will this be done and still finish the season at the originally scheduled time? First, the NBA will reschedule as many previously postponed games as possible between now and the break in early March. Second, and not yet to be announced, is to reschedule games from the first half to the second half, to balance out the schedule. One of the first games moved was a game between the Portland Trailblazers and Washington Wizards, which was originally set to play in the second half of the season. Now, the game will be on February 2 and then pushed back Portland’s games against the Charlotte Hornets from February 7 to the second half. In addition, the Hornets game against the Wizards, originally scheduled for January 20 has been pushed to February 7.
Retooling the schedule was a must for the league to have a chance to finish play on time. Despite the protocols set in place, the league has already had to postpone nearly two dozen games (22, to be exact). This is due to teams not having enough players (8 minimum) to dress in accordance to the health and safety protocols. More than half of those games involve the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards. Considering the large number of postponements, the league has been even more strict with its protocols. It appears to be working since only one new positive case has been reported last week. This is a great sign moving forward, should everyone involved abide by the protocols set into place.
One must wonder what happens if even with the newly strict protocols fail to work. After all, it only takes one player to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, test positive and the spread can begin. In that case, the season could be pushed back like last season and possibly another playoff bubble situation. That is something that no one around the league wants to see happen again.