NBA Christmas Day game times could change due to COVID-19

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NBA Christmas Day times could change due to COVID-19 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The NBA’s Christmas Day slate could have some changes this Saturday.

The league notified the 10 teams scheduled to play on Dec. 25 that game times could change if COVID-19-related issues force any postponements. 

The league said the priority will be filling the three games played on ABC during the 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET windows on Saturday. Those matchups are currently the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers, in that order.

The other two games will feature the Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks at 12 p.m. on ESPN and the Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Shifting the times of the games was described as a contingency plan in the memo distributed to teams in case any games are postponed. Decisions on whether or not a game would change times could come as late as Friday.

The NBA has postponed seven games this season due to COVID-19 and more than 75 players entered health and safety protocols this week alone. More than 30 players from the 10 teams scheduled to play on Christmas are currently in health and safety protocols, including Trae Young and Kevin Durant.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday there are “no plans right now” to pause the regular season, despite the recent wave of players entering protocols.

Silver told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that 65 percent of NBA players have received a booster shot and that “a very small number” have had breakthrough cases. Silver added that roughly 90 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases in the NBA have been due to the Omicron variant.

The NHL recently announced it will suspend operations from Dec. 22 through Christmas after experiencing a league-wide outbreak. NHL players reportedly opted out of participating in the 2022 Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.