Tom Haberstroh

Coronavirus: How NBA's response, options changed in matter of hours

Coronavirus: How NBA's response, options changed in matter of hours

The NBA's outlook on the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) changed in a matter of hours Wednesday.

Reports indicated the league preferred playing the remainder of the NBA season in empty arenas, and a member of the board of governors told NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh that was a "nuclear option." But the NBA suspended its season soon after, when a Utah Jazz player -- reportedly center Rudy Gobert -- tested positive for COVID-19.

The league initially planned to play the remainder of its Wednesday slate, but a league source told NBC Sports California's James Ham that the New Orleans Pelicans decided against taking the court against the Kings at Golden 1 Center once they learned referee Courtney Kirkland had officiated the Jazz's game against the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

The NBA skipped what the governor described as the "nuclear option," suspending Kings-Pelicans entirely "out of an abundance of caution," hours after suspending the Jazz's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"This is a cross-pollination league," Haberstroh told NBC Sports California's Jim Kozimor and Jerry Reynolds following the game's postponement. "It truly is. When you look at the schedule of the Utah Jazz, they played [at Oklahoma City] tonight. They played the other day on Monday at home against the Toronto Raptors, and two days before that they played at Detroit and two days before that they played at Boston.

"Think about all those players, in all of those games who are now sitting at home wondering if they have the coronavirus because Rudy Gobert, who has been reported as the player infected with the Utah Jazz ... has infected them by playing in those games on the court."

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday night that teams who have played the Jazz within the last 10 days have been told to self-quarantine.

Haberstroh said "it's too early to say" if the suspension of the NBA season is indefinite. There reportedly is pessimism the league will play games again this season, but Wednesday provided a clear indication of just how quickly things can change.

As far as next steps, Haberstroh said the NBA needs to determine when -- and where -- Gobert was infected, and whether or not he has been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's precautions designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Gobert jokingly touched reporters' microphones on a podium before Monday's game after the Jazz closed their locker room to media.

Although Gobert reportedly is the NBA's first case of COVID-19, Haberstroh said the story has moved far beyond the French big man. There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases in the United States and testing is still ramping up, so plenty of others will be far more vulnerable to the virus' spread.

"It is also about their families, and the elderly and the children involved in this situation," Haberstroh said. "So, until the NBA can learn more about this situation, I think it's too early to speculate whether we will see NBA games at this point in the season, or whether it's too much of a risk to play NBA games -- even in an empty arena. At this point, it's simply too early to say."

Klay Thompson's 37-point quarter hottest hand ever, Tom Haberstroh says

Klay Thompson's 37-point quarter hottest hand ever, Tom Haberstroh says

On the most recent episode of NBC Sports' "The Habershow" podcast, Tom Haberstroh was joined by guest Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal.

When discussing Cohen's new book, “The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streak," the two had the following exchange:

Cohen: "What is the hottest you've ever seen anyone on an NBA floor?"

Haberstroh: "Oh, it's gotta be Klay Thompson with the 37-point third quarter."

Cohen: "Is it the 37-point quarter or the 60 points in three quarters? I think it's the 37, too."

Haberstroh: "Thirty-seven because he was so cold going into that third quarter."

On Jan. 23, 2015, Klay scored 37 points over a span of nine minutes and 39 seconds in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings. 

Not bad for a guy who went 3-for-9 from the field in the first half.

[RELATED: Why Wiggins believes Steph 'the most unselfish superstar']

On Dec. 5, 2016, Klay racked up 60 points (21-for-33 overall) in just 29 minutes of action against the Indiana Pacers.

They both were epic performances and there is no word to describe how hot he was.

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NBA-best Bucks are 'like the 2016 Warriors,' Tom Haberstroh believes

NBA-best Bucks are 'like the 2016 Warriors,' Tom Haberstroh believes

Barring a miracle finish, the Milwaukee Bucks won't match or break the Warriors' NBA record of 73 wins in a season.

But they will get close. FiveThirtyEight projects that the Bucks, who currently hold a 52-8 record, will finished with 69 wins. It's conceivable that they get to 70 wins, but with firm control of the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA playoffs, the Bucks will likely rest Giannis Antetokounmpo and their other stars down the stretch.

But their sheer dominance this season is eliciting comparisons to that 2015-16 Warriors team, including from NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh.

During Sunday's Warriors-Wizards broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area, Haberstroh was asked if he would take the Bucks or "the field" to win the 2020 NBA Finals.

"I would take the Bucks as the favorite, but not the field," Haberstroh told Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike. "I'm on Team Bucks, over the Lakers and the Clippers. I think the Bucks are on another level. They're like the 2016 Warriors right now. Yes, the Warriors didn't win the title in 2016, but it took a lot of injuries and attrition to make that happen."

[RELATED: What to expect in Steph's return]

Hopefully, for the Bucks, they aren't met with the same fate in the NBA Finals that the Warriors were. You know, that whole 3-1 collapse thing.