“This season’s going to be a wild one” – The Denver Post
The rollercoaster of last NBA season may pale in comparison to the turbulence of this upcoming one.
Only hours before Denver’s Wednesday night season opener against Sacramento, the NBA announced the Oklahoma City-Houston game was postponed because the Rockets didn’t have the requisite number of players (eight) to compete. That number was a result of positive or inconclusive tests to three players, four others who were in quarantine due to contact tracing and James Harden’s violation of the health and safety protocols.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone was hardly surprised.
“Just look what’s going on in our country, around the world,” Malone said. “COVID is a lot bigger than the NBA. … Last season was shut down on March 11. We were forced to play in the ‘Bubble,’ and now we’re trying to play outside of a bubble, and these are some of the side effects of that.
“You feel bad because I’m sure players on both teams were ready to go, and then Houston Rockets, they were not able to suit up eight players.”
Just because it didn’t happen in Denver doesn’t mean it couldn’t. The fact that a game was postponed on just the second day of the season should be viewed as a teaching moment for the league and its teams.
“Obviously this year, as is evidenced by the news in Houston tonight with that game being postponed, this season’s going to be a wild one,” Malone said.
Malone said before Wednesday’s game he couldn’t even begin to think about Denver’s marquee Christmas Day game against the Clippers because of their current opponent, Sacramento, and all the logistics that went into preparing for the home opener.
But beginning with Sacramento, and followed shortly thereafter by the Clippers and then the Rockets, the Nuggets will begin the season with three consecutive home games. In fact, six of their first eight games will be played at Ball Arena.
Last season, the Nuggets began the year 13-3. The year before that, they started out 9-1.
“The teams that get off to great starts are usually teams that are playing late into the playoffs,” Malone said.
It’s a priority once again.