Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen May 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ESPN broadcasters Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen before game six of the 2022 eastern conference finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors will tip off Thursday night (8 p.m. Eastern, ABC), but the ESPN/ABC broadcast team won’t be at full strength.

According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, ESPN lead NBA game analyst Jeff Van Gundy and NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski are both out for Game 1 of the Finals because of COVID-19. They join play-by-play voice Mike Breen on the COVID list: Breen already missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals because of a positive test. As of Thursday morning, Breen has not been cleared for Game 1 of the Finals. If Breen is not cleared, Mark Jones will again fill in on the call, joining analyst Mark Jackson for a two-person broadcast.

Van Gundy’s absence was almost predictable considering how sick he sounded during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday night. Despite exhibiting symptoms while his broadcast partner was on the bench with COVID, Van Gundy was allowed to call the game.

Breen reportedly felt “fine,” but Van Gundy sounded as if he was battling through his own version of the Michael Jordan flu game. As it turns out, Van Gundy may have been experiencing COVID symptoms while on air, considering how he has now been ruled out for Game 1 of the Finals days later.

Breen has called 91 straight NBA Finals games dating back to 2006 and Van Gundy has served as the lead analyst for 85 consecutive Finals broadcasts, a streak that began in 2007. Van Gundy’s streak will end Thursday night, and Breen’s streak remains in jeopardy.

Game 2 of the series will be Sunday in San Francisco. As per Marchand, ESPN hopes Van Gundy will be able to return by that game.

UPDATE: Mark Jones and Mark Jackson will call Game 1.

[The New York Post]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to