The NBA’s initial plan for the 2020-21 season was to handle all make-up games from COVID-19 postponements in the second half. But that’s no longer the case. With 22 COVID-19 postponements as of Wednesday afternoon, the second half looked to have a lot of schedule crunch from rescheduled games. So the league announced that they’re now trying to fit some reschedulings in during the first half, and also moving some second-half games up to the first half. Here’s that news, via Marc Stein of The New York Times:
The NBA is planning to reschedule some of its postponed games in the first half of the schedule rather than overloading the second half and has announced the first schedule tweaks: pic.twitter.com/VntbkfFf5g
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 27, 2021
As mentioned in there (but cut off in the Twitter embed), the three games moved so far are Portland at Washington (previously set for the second half, now set for Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ET), Washington at Charlotte (originally set for Jan. 20, now set for Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. ET), and Portland at Charlotte (previously set for Feb. 7, now moved to an unspecified second-half date). There may be more to come.
The shift to flexible scheduling here feels like a logical move. As we saw during the college football, NFL, MLB, and MLS seasons this past fall, and during the ongoing college basketball season, trying to play a non-bubble season during a pandemic often leads to a lot of cancellations and postponements. And that requires some unprecedented scheduling flexibility if you’re determined to still get games in, leading to situations like the short-notice “Mormons vs. Mullets” BYU-Coastal Carolina football clash this fall.
So it sure seems to make sense for the NBA to move some games around. And that’s maybe especially true at a moment where their virus numbers aren’t looking as bad as they have (testing results this last week saw one new positive out of 492 players tested). We’ll see what this winds up meaning for the league and its broadcasters, but this certainly feels like a sign that the rest of the NBA season may be played on a more-flexible scheduling approach.
[Marc Stein on Twitter]