NBA Suspends Season Indefinitely Following Wednesday's Games
ORLANDO – In an unprecedented move in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus crisis, the NBA has suspended game play ``until further notice’’ as the league tries to figure out how to handle the rapidly spreading disease.
The NBA made the move on Wednesday night following the postponement of a game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder. That game was postponed, according to the NBA, because a Jazz player preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA says that the affected player was not at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
``The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,’’ the NBA said in a statement released on Wednesday night.
The Magic, winners of their last three games, were scheduled to face the Chicago Bulls on Thursday at the Amway Center. That game, and hundreds of others throughout the NBA over the coming weeks, is postponed until further notice. The Magic (30-35) have 17 games remaining – 10 of which were scheduled to be played at the Amway Center.
``As we’ve said from the beginning, the health and safety of our fans, employees, players and partners is our top priority and thus we fully support the NBA’s decision to postpone games,’’ Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement on Wednesday night. ``We will continue to stay in contact with the league, and local, state and federal health experts as we closely monitor this public health crisis. During this period of increased focus on public health due to COVID-19, we ask that our fans continue to practice healthy habits as outlined by the CDC.’’
The Magic also announced that tickets already purchased for a postponed game will be honored when the game is rescheduled. If games are not played or played in an empty-arena, fans will have the option to receive a credit for a future game or a refund. Fans can log on to OrlandoMagic.com where ticket and future schedule information will be announced.
The suspension of the season comes just as the Magic have started to play their best basketball of the season. Orlando beat the Grizzlies and superstar guard Ja Morant, 120-115, on Tuesday night in Memphis for its third straight win and its sixth victory in the past nine games. Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Michael Carter-Williams had a season-best 20 points and Nikola Vucevic chipped in 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Magic rallied from a 17-point deficit for the victory.
Orlando is currently positioned at No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings – a half-game behind the Brooklyn Nets (30-34) for the coveted No. 7 seed. The Magic are 2-0 this season against Nets and were scheduled to face them twice more.
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