Now 31 games into their 2021-22 regular season schedule, the Wizards have had their first game postponed due to an outbreak of the coronavirus. This time, however, it's not their team that was directly affected.
Last year Washington went through that experience, having six games pushed back when a long list of their own players tested positive. But this game is being moved because the Brooklyn Nets, whom the Wizards were supposed to face on national TV on Tuesday, have had 10 players enter the league's health and safety protocol.
The Nets also had their game against the Denver Nuggets set for Sunday night postponed. The Wizards, meanwhile, will now have four days off before they take the court again, on Thursday in New York against the Knicks.
On one hand, the Wizards are now more likely to see the Nets at full-strength when the game is made up. Brooklyn has all of its best players in protocol including MVP candidate Kevin Durant, plus star guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
The Wizards, though, can probably use these four days to reset with some much-needed practice time. Barring another outbreak for them or their upcoming opponents, this should be their longest respite of the season between games outside of the NBA's February All-Star break.
Washington won on Saturday night at the Utah Jazz in their best and most complete performance in weeks. But as its defense has floundered following a strong start to the season, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. can utilize the next few days to get his players back on the same page.
When they return to action, Washington will then face two teams - the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers - who are struggling at the moment. So, all in all the break could be used to the Wizards' advantage.
Setting the short-term basketball implications aside, this piece of news is yet another reminder the pandemic is heading in the wrong direction and that is being seen all across the NBA. Washington-Brooklyn is one of five games over the next three days that were postponed.
In addition to the two Nets games, the Cleveland Cavaliers-Atlanta Hawks game on Sunday, the New Orleans Pelicans-Philadelphia game on Sunday and the Orlando Magic-Toronto Raptors game on Monday were all moved. The league had been able to avoid these scenarios for much of this season, but that is clearly becoming more challenging.
Now, the Wizards have been affected directly and with the way things are heading it may not be the last time.