Celtics-Heat game postponed due to COVID-19 contact tracing

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Celtics were going to be without nine roster players for a Sunday night matchup at TD Garden due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Incredibly, that was not the reason Boston’s game was postponed by the league just two hours before gametime. Instead, it was a lack of available bodies for the Miami Heat that led to just the second game postponement of the season by the NBA.

One Heat player returned an inconclusive COVID test on Sunday after the team played Washington on Saturday night. A league source tells BSJ that Avery Bradley was the player with the inconclusive test. With contact tracing protocols in place, the Heat did not have enough players that did not have extended contact with Bradley to field the necessary eight players (league minimum required) to play the Celtics on Sunday night. Due to that, the league elected to postpone the game to a later date despite the Heat already being in Boston.

BSJ Analysis

From a competitive standpoint, this is a huge break for the Celtics. With five of their best seven players on the roster sidelined and only two players above 6-foot-5 cleared to play, the team was set to be a massive home underdog against the defending champions of the Eastern Conference. Brad Stevens would have been forced to play four-guard lineups, heavy zone defenses and hand young players 35-40 minutes to just get through the game. That scenario will probably still happen this week but the C’s now get to gameplan a bit more for it and avoid at least one almost certain loss that would have been coming on Sunday night.

Instead, Boston is set to have three off days in a row (the longest break they will have in the first half of the season) before