Even if the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks are both in good shape to face each other as scheduled on Christmas night — not a certainty right now as the omicron variant has ravaged the sports world — the time of their game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City could reportedly get altered.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania both reported that the NBA will do all it can to ensure that three of the league’s Christmas Day game time slots set to air on ABC — at 12:30, 3 and 6 p.m. MT — have games.
As such, if any of those contests have to be postponed because of COVID-19 protocols, one of the other games would fill that slot.
Right now, the three ABC games are scheduled to be the following matchups:
- Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks.
- Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns.
- Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers.
The Atlanta Hawks are scheduled to play at the New York Knicks at 10 a.m. MT and the Jazz and Mavericks are scheduled to play at 8:30 p.m. MT.
Wojnarowski reported that the league could decide as late as Christmas Eve if Hawks-Knicks or Jazz-Mavericks will get moved.
This contingency plan comes as COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks. The NHL announced Monday night that it will pause between Wednesday and Saturday, and other leagues have seen teams become wildly shorthanded.
On Tuesday, however, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews that there are “no plans” to pause play.
“This virus will not be eradicated, so we have to learn to live with it,” he said.