San Antonio’s game in New Orleans was called off Monday night in the latest virus-related postponement for the NBA, one that came when the league determined that neither team would have enough players available.
Also Monday: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the two best players on the Los Angeles Clippers, were ruled out for Tuesday's game in Atlanta because of the league's health and safety protocols.
As has been the case with most of the other games that have been postponed, contact tracing was cited as the cause of the Spurs-Pelicans postponement. But instead of it involving just one team — as has been the case with each of the season’s previous 21 postponements prior to Monday — this one involved both clubs.
“Because of ongoing contact tracing within both the Spurs and Pelicans, neither team has the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game,” the NBA said, sending that announcement less than two hours before the planned tip-off time.
San Antonio became the 24th team to have at least one game postponed so far this season because of the virus. The Spurs played Washington — a team that went 13 days between games because of six players testing positive for COVID-19 and three others missing time because contact tracing suggested they may have been exposed to the virus — on Sunday night.
Of the 22 postponements this season, 21 have been made since Jan. 10.
Meanwhile, a person with knowledge of the situation said Leonard and George may be able to return at some point during the Clippers’ six-game road trip, depending on what the NBA decides with regard to their situations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the team nor the league spoke about those cases publicly.
Also Monday, the Boston Celtics had Jayson Tatum in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 8 when they visited Chicago. Tatum missed five games because of the protocols surrounding the virus.