The NBA announced Monday that 11 games have been rescheduled in response to the wave of postponements that have taken place over the past several weeks due to the recent surge of COVID-19.
A total of 21 games were impacted: 11 that were previously postponed, another eight future games that were changed because of the postponed games being rescheduled and two more -- the San Antonio Spurs visiting the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, and the Boston Celtics visiting the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 29 -- that are being played at a different time on the same day.
Nineteen different teams had at least one game impacted, with the Toronto Raptors leading the way among individual teams with six games being adjusted.
The Raptors were followed by the Nets and Chicago Bulls (5), Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks and Pelicans (3) and Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat (2) as teams with more than one game being shifted as a result of the schedule changes.
The schedule adjustments will see many teams have to get through several games in a short amount of time -- and in a wide variety of places -- as the NBA tried to retrofit the schedule to make up for the games that have been postponed, all of which have been rescheduled from this Sunday through March 31.
The Nets, for example, are now playing at noon Sunday in Brooklyn against the San Antonio Spurs, before then flying across the country to play the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night. Brooklyn will then fly halfway across the country to Chicago to play the Bulls -- in a previously scheduled game -- next Wednesday.
"There's no easy way to do this," Nets coach Steve Nash said after Monday's announcement, and before the Nets took on the Memphis Grizzlies at Barclays Center Monday night. "If we were expecting it to be a sweet little add to the schedule, and no blood drawn, that would be foolish."
Toronto, on the other hand, is now hosting the Bulls on Feb. 3 -- which had been the day that franchise legend Kyle Lowry was going to make his return to Scotiabank Arena for the first time since leaving the Raptors this offseason for the Heat.
Lowry's return will instead come two days earlier, as Miami will play in Toronto on Feb. 1. The game that Toronto was originally scheduled to play that day -- a game in Atlanta -- will now be played on Jan. 31.
The NBA has spent the past several weeks dealing with the fallout of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has surged through the league and sent well over 100 players -- and several head coaches -- into the league's health and safety protocols.
To combat the virus, the league has not only postponed the 11 games, but it's also taken several steps to ease roster rules and increase flexibility for teams to add players on a short-term basis in order to have enough players available on a nightly basis to avoid any further postponements.