Philadelphia lost on the road to Ja Morant and Memphis on Saturday night, boarded a plane, and flew to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder Sunday in a back-to-back.
The Sixers were in the arena, with players on the court warming up, when word came down that Memphis big man Jonas Valanciunas had entered the league’s health and safety protocols, suggesting he tested positive.
Because of contact tracing from the Saturday game tied to Valanciunas, Philadelphia’s game against Oklahoma City had to be postponed.
“Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Sixers, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game,” the league announced.
The #Sixers have NO new positive COVID-19 test results to report at this time, according to a team source. However, they’re partaking in ongoing contract tracing due to a covid-related issue involving a recent opponent.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 17, 2021
This happened last minute. On its final injury report at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the Sixers listed just four players out: Joel Embiid (right knee issues and back tightness), Seth Curry (COVID-19 protocols), Mike Scott (right knee swelling), and Vincent Poirier (COVID-19 protocols).
This clearly caught Philly off guard, guys were warming up.
As of now, it is still a go for Memphis on Monday — it hosting a game on Martin Luther King day is a tentpole game for the NBA. We will see if the situation changes.
This is the 14th NBA game postponed this season.