Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.
1) Following the science, NBA reduced minimum quarantine time from 10 to six days
Monday, the CDC reduced its recommended quarantine times for people who test positive for COVID but are asymptomatic from 10 days to five (followed by five days of wearing a mask). “The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the CDC said in a statement.
The NBA and NBPA have agreed to follow the science, too, announcing that the isolation period for players who test positive but are vaccinated and asymptomatic is now six days, down from 10.
Vaccinated NBA players and coaches can now clear quarantine after six days if Covid-testing data shows they’re no longer at risk to be infectious, according to a memo distributed to teams Monday and obtained by ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 27, 2021
This is good news for Deandre Ayton, Chauncey Billups, Jayson Tatum, Draymond Green, and other players who have entered the league’s health and safety protocols since the NBA ramped up testing after Christmas.
That testing led to 27 players and coaches entering protocols on Sunday and bringing the total for the past two weeks to 172. Talk to teams about those players, and almost every one of them is asymptomatic, or at most had very mild symptoms. About 97% of NBA players are vaccinated and nearly two-thirds have received a booster shot, according to the league.
The NBA and players union made the right call being patient and pushing through this surge in the virus rather than shutting down. While let’s not pretend the league’s motives were anything other than financial, the Omicron variant is not leading to the same severe outcomes for the vaccinated (and especially the vaccinated and boosted), and a shut down was never called for.
The NBA again followed the science, leading them to the right place.
2) Ja Morant hits acrobatic game-winner off the glass
Devin Booker thought he had a game-winner.
Phoenix had come from 18 down and took the lead on a Booker 3 with :05 seconds to go (rough defensive play for the Grizzlies, with Desmond Bane getting hung up on the screen and Booker getting a clean look).
But Ja Morant had an answer.
Watch that Booker shot again. He drives, absorbs the contact, switches hands and puts the game-winner off glass. Insane.
Ja Morant drives, hangs, switches hands and gets it to on his way down, FOR THE @memgrizz WIN! pic.twitter.com/GnTl4RbAEJ
— NBA (@NBA) December 28, 2021
The Suns have a couple of tough home losses in a row now.
3) Vintage James Harden shows up, drops 39 on Clippers in win
Brooklyn had a pretty impressive Christmas in Los Angeles. Saturday they handled LeBron James and the Lakers comfortably.
They got the shorthanded Clippers on Monday, and vintage James Harden showed up and scored 39 while dropping 15 assists.
Harden is finding his groove again, and Kevin Durant is expected back this week (the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving will be longer). Without Kawhi Leonard or Paul George for the next few weeks, the Clippers look like they are in for a rough patch.
Highlight of the Night: Christian Wood‘s errant pass clocks fan in head
Christian Wood had his Shaqtin moment, and some poor fan just trying to walk back to their seat paid the price.
After the game, Wood tried to make it up to her.
.@Chriswood_5 is offering the fan he accidentally hit with a pass courtside tickets to a Rockets game 👏 pic.twitter.com/UMzsRSYrk8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 28, 2021
Last night’s scores:
Charlotte 123, Houston 99
Chicago 140, Atlanta 118
Minnesota 108, Boston 103
Utah 110, San Antonio 104
Memphis 114, Phoenix 113
Dallas 132, Portland 117
Brooklyn 124, LA Clippers 108