The Sixers have become the latest NBA team to be affected by the league-wide Covid outbreaks which have forced multiple cancellations. The Sixers were expected to take on the New Orleans Pelicans today but the news that Andre Drummond and Shake Milton had also entered Covid protocol put them in an extremely shorthanded spot. With three players listed as questionable and the G-League team out in Las Vegas, the Sixers only were only certain to have 5 available players.
How this impacts the Sixers:
While it would have been fun to see a lineup of Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe, and Charles Bassey play a full 48 minutes, this was the right call by the league. The Sixers have battled injuries and guys in quarantine already this season and it has been several weeks since the team was at full strength. Tonight’s postponement will extend the Sixers’ days of rest to three, and this could go a long way to helping the team get healthy.
The NBA requires there to be at least 8 active players for the game to be allowed to be played, and so much of that was reliant on the three Sixers players who are listed as questionable. With Maxey, Green, and Embiid all seemingly real question marks on whether they could suit up, this was the smart decision to move back this potential matchup.
There is not much time to rest as for the moment the Sixers are still expected to take on the Celtics tomorrow night. The Delaware Blue Coats are currently playing in Las Vegas so there seems to be the expectation that Paul Reed and Aaron Henry will fly back to meet the Sixers and provide some extra bodies for tomorrow. As long as this occurs and at least one of the questionable Sixers is able to suit up, there should not be too much time without Philadelphia basketball.
On a more serious note, the NBA is having some real trouble controlling the spread of Covid in recent weeks. It is extremely frustrating how widespread the issue has become but it is the reality of the world we live in and the NBA must adjust accordingly. The Sixers are far from the only team to be dealing with this issue as there have been widespread outbreaks on the Nets, Cavs, Hawks, and several other teams as well.
While the NBA obviously intends on playing as many games as possible and doing their best to get through the season, the reality is these cancellations may become more common. The recent spike in cases is especially concerning given the timing around the holidays and the expected travel by the players. There are a lot more questions than answers at this point but one thing is certain and the Sixers will not be playing the Pelicans tonight.
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