Christmas boost: NBA continues quest for more gun shots – KLBK | KAMC
The NBA’s Christmas message to her teams was a refrain she’d been using for weeks: Get Boosted.
With the number of players on the league’s health and safety protocol roster still hovering around 100 – and with Chicago coach Billy Donovan now handling those protocols as well, questioning his availability for them. Bulls’ Upcoming Games – The League and National Basketball The Players Association continues to stress the importance of booster shots.
Every NBA team, by December 31, is to hold a recall event for players, staff and family members, the league’s last tenure in its quest to bring its growing number of viruses under control. The NBA told the teams that its data shows that boosters significantly reduce a person’s risk of infection, and that one in three players are still not boosted, even though 97% of the league is vaccinated.
It comes as the league’s Jan. 5 recall mandate looms for all eligible scorer table staff, team attendants and other staff who have face-to-face interaction with players or referees. In almost all cases, if the people in these positions do not have a recall by January 5, they will not be allowed to continue in those jobs.
For now, however, Christmas remains in the NBA. All five games – Atlanta to New York, Boston to Milwaukee, Golden State to Phoenix, Brooklyn to the Los Angles Lakers and Dallas to Utah – remain scheduled, and all five are expected to be played in packed arenas in stark contrast to what was the case last season, when almost every seat in every building was left empty for Christmas games.
“You never want to lose sight of our reality of the past two years,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “We were playing those games last year at those times and there was nobody in there. It was strange. And the season two years ago was truncated. The energy of the crowds, the enthusiasm, the passion of the fans in the building is what everyone wants, whether you are at home or on the road.
There was good news on Friday: Milwaukee said Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, was no longer in protocols. That doesn’t guarantee he’ll play on Saturday in the traditional Christmas appearance for the NBA champions, although that is a positive sign.
The NBA has already seen 519 players appear in at least one game this season, the most before Christmas. And the 490 players – and it’s not over – who entered the field in December are also a league record for any month. These numbers have increased in large part because of all the players who had to go through tough deals to replace those who left due to virus-related reasons.
And call-ups have a ripple effect.
The G League announced on Friday that it was delaying its regular season, pushing back the scheduled start from Monday to January 5 and delaying around 50 games.
“The delay will give teams the opportunity to safely return players to the market after the Christmas break and replenish their rosters after NBA calls,” the G League said.
Lakers star LeBron James is set to play this Christmas for the 16th time, which would tie Kobe Bryant’s all-time record, and comes 13 points off Bryant’s mark for the holidays on Saturday. James scored 383 points over Christmas; Bryant scored 395.
That means this Christmas should be a record for James.
He also expects it to be lacking in many ways.
“Will this be one of the best games I’m used to playing on Christmas?” No, said James. “So many guys came out. This whole protocol thing has had the worst of a lot of teams in our league right now, so it won’t be so star-studded.
The Lakers are 16-17 so far this season, and James said the team have no chemistry just because they haven’t had a chance to build any. The numbers show why: The Lakers – who have run out of time with eight players so far this season for virus-related reasons – have used 18 different starting lineups in those 33 games, up from seven in the first 33 games of the last season and 25 in the full 72-game campaign a year ago.
“You can literally have a guy one night and the next night you won’t,” James said. “You really don’t know.”
New protocols – the league and the union are trying to find a way to change the rules and potentially help some players get back onto the pitch faster than is the case now after positive tests – could help mitigate some of these unknowns. But the new rules, which have been a top priority in recent days, are apparently not quite finished yet.
Additionally, testing is also expected to increase over the next few days, meaning the surge in numbers may continue to soar.
“There have been some totally unpredictable things that have happened this year,” said Spoelstra.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports