Through almost two months of regular season basketball, the NBA has postponed 23 games due to positive coronavirus tests or contract tracing. On Monday night, the Denver Nuggets became the 25th team to have a game postponed because a player from the Detroit Pistons had a positive/inconclusive coronavirus test.
Fortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been one of the 25 teams to have one or more of their games postponed, and they say it’s taken more than just good fortune for the Lakers to resume their season as regularly scheduled, even if they know luck has played a part.
“We have been diligent in trying to follow the protocols as closely as possible with the social distancing and the mask-wearing and everything that goes into trying to stay safe with this thing,” Frank Vogel said on Monday. “The virus doesn’t discriminate, and I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that are being as diligent as us that haven’t been as lucky. So we have had good luck so far, hopefully that continues, and I think it’s a combination of both.”
From the very start of the season, the Lakers made it clear that they wanted to make team safety a priority. While they’ve had a few scares here and there, they haven’t had any reported positive cases of coronavirus within the organization since March.
“We’ve been trying to be extremely responsible, the whole Lakers organization,” LeBron James said on Monday. “We’re doing our testing, guys are staying in their rooms and staying socially distanced and things of that nature. We’re just trying to do everything the protocols tell us we can or cannot do, and just trying to follow that to a T.
“There are some things you can’t control,” James continued. “But what we can control is just trying to stay responsible, do the things that we can do and things of that nature, and that’s allowed us to (play all of our games).”
Following protocols does present challenges, though, particularly when you’re on the road like the Lakers have been for the last two weeks.
“The gyms aren’t open,” James said. “A lot of arenas aren’t open unless there is a game. You can’t really prepare on the floor, so you’ve got to do it in film sessions and things of that nature. So to have our full group, like I’ve said before, we use a lot of our games as extensive practices, but continue to work our habits, continue to work our strategic plan so we can get better and better as the months go on.
“Through luck, yes, but also through being responsible as well has allowed us to be whole throughout the season so far.”
The Lakers are scheduled to play against the Nuggets at Staples Center on Thursday. While there hasn’t been an update on whether or not that game will be played after they and the Detroit Pistons had their game postponed on Monday due to and inconclusive test, the Pistons are expected to play against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, which suggests the Nuggets will be able to play too.