Postponement of Bulls-Raptors just the start of NBA's scheduling issues

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Bulls flew to Tampa, Fla. on Saturday, but had made an early return after Sunday's game against Toronto was postponed because the Raptors didn't have enough players available.

    The Bulls flew to Tampa, Fla. on Saturday, but had made an early return after Sunday's game against Toronto was postponed because the Raptors didn't have enough players available. AP File Photo/2019

 
 
Updated 2/28/2021 5:30 PM

The Bulls will be a test case for the NBA. Their game Sunday against Toronto was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns with the Raptors.

This is the first NBA game postponed since the second half schedule was released this week. Before this point, postponed games would be made up during the second half. Now what?

 

There is very little room to add another game to the Bulls' second-half schedule. Between the return from the all-star break on Mar. 11 and the end of the regular season on May 16, the Bulls have just three occasions when they'll have two days off in a row.

There is one day that could make sense. On Thu., Apr. 8, the Bulls have two days off before playing in Atlanta, Toronto also doesn't have a game that day and the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, which is sharing an arena with the Raptors, is on the road.

The Bulls flew down to the Raptors' temporary home of Tampa on Saturday and planned to return as soon as possible Sunday to prepare for Monday's home game against Denver. Toronto found a new home this season because of Canada's travel restrictions into the country.

This is the fourth time the Bulls had a game canceled this season, always because the other team didn't have enough players available. The Raptors beat Houston on Friday without forward Pascal Siakam or most of the coaching staff due to health and safety protocols. So it seems likely Toronto will have more games postponed, with Detroit and Boston left on the slate before the all-star break.

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The Bulls (15-17) now have two games left before the break. After hosting Denver, they are scheduled to visit New Orleans on Wednesday.

The Bulls were starting to build some momentum, winning five of six games. That surge came to a halt Friday when Phoenix dominated the fourth quarter and rallied to win 106-97 at the United Center.

"We did not handle the fourth quarter well and we've got to learn from that and get better from that," Bulls coach Bill Donovan said after the game, while bemoaning his team's 10 turnovers in the final quarter.

"We've got to be better. If that continues to be a trend for us, against a good team or a team with a poor record, it doesn't make a difference. It's hard to win."

The Bulls were tied for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference as of Sunday morning, but are just 2-11 against the other top eight teams in each conference.

The NBA also announced that Monday's game against Denver will start at 7 p.m., instead of the previously-scheduled 8:00 tip.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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