After having to postpone 21 games in January, the NBA started to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control in February. Halfway through the month, only two NBA games had been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. But that all changed Tuesday thanks to the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs are playing their best basketball of the season
After a mediocre start to the season, the San Antonio Spurs have found their groove over the past few weeks. The Spurs have won five of their last six games and eight of their last 11 dating back to Jan. 24.
Gregg Popovich’s squad has been winning mostly on the defensive end. The Spurs have allowed just 108.7 points per game over their last six games. That stretch even includes two matchups against Steph Curry and the potent Golden State Warriors offense.
San Antonio is coming off two dominant wins against the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets in which they scored 125 and 122 points in both games. The Spurs now find themselves in sixth place in the deep and talented Western Conference at 16-11. They’re only 1.5 games back of catching the Phoenix Suns in fourth place, but the Spurs just hit a crippling COVID-19 speed bump just as they were hitting their stride.
Four Spurs players test positive for COVID-19
The Spurs beat the Hornets, 122-110, on Sunday to improve to 16-11, but they received some troubling news a few days later. On Tuesday morning, the NBA announced that four players on the Spurs have tested positive for COVID-19. Neither the NBA nor the Spurs have announced which players tested positive.
The Spurs have been quarantined in Charlotte since Sunday, and they won’t be able to return to the court for at least a week.
The NBA postpones five games between the Spurs and Hornets
Along with the announcement of the Spurs’ four positive COVID-19 tests, the NBA announced the postponement of five upcoming games between the Spurs and Hornets.
“The San Antonio Spurs’ next three games (Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Cleveland; Saturday, Feb. 20 at New York and Monday, Feb. 22 at Indiana) and the Charlotte Hornets’ next two games (Wednesday, Feb. 17 vs. Chicago and Friday, Feb. 19 vs. Denver) have been postponed in accordance with the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols,” the NBA said in a statement Tuesday.
“The games are being postponed due to four players testing positive and additional contact tracing for players on both San Antonio’s and Charlotte’s rosters, and in order to ensure the health and safety of players on both teams.”
The Spurs will be eligible to return to the court on Feb. 24 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Hornets can return on Feb. 20 against the Golden State Warriors.
With the first half of the NBA season ending on March 4, the Spurs’ COVID hiccup has come at a brutal time for a team seemingly finding its groove over the last few games.