The Perfect Enemy | Suns officials decline comment on reported COVID-19 outbreak in playoffs
July 5, 2022

Suns officials decline comment on reported COVID-19 outbreak in playoffs

Suns officials decline comment on reported COVID-19 outbreak in playoffs  The Arizona Republic

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Phoenix Suns assistant coach Bryan Gates wasn’t on the bench for Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

He might not have been the only who dealing with COVID-19 at the time.

The Athletic reported Wednesday an unnamed Suns player and multiple support staff tested positive for COVID-19 around that time.

The player reportedly tested positive the day after Game 7.

The Republic reported hours after Game 7 Gates was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. Gates tested positive after Game 6, The Athletic reported, as there were two days between Game 6 and Game 7. 

Suns officials declined to comment or provide a statement on The Athletic report.

Six total individuals, counting the unnamed player, tested positive.

The NBA never reported a Suns player being placed in health and safety protocols during the conference semifinals, but a greater emphasis was placed on wearing masks late in the series.

The Athletic reported some Suns informed “colleagues” they weren’t feeling well before Game 7.

Fourth-seeded Dallas won Game 7 by 33 points, 123-90, in Phoenix to advance to the conference finals to face the third-seeded Golden State Warriors.

The Mavericks lost the conference finals in five games. The NBA also never reported a Mavs player being placed in COVID protocols during the series or after.

The Athletic reported Phoenix didn’t have season-ending exit meetings between players and coaches at the team’s practice facility.

The Suns instead had a team-wide meeting on Zoom.

The Athletic also reported the Mavs were concerned about any potential COVID outbreak within the Suns as early as Game 5.

The top overall seed in the playoffs, Phoenix won Game 5 by 30 to take a 3-2 series lead, but lost Game 6 in Dallas and Game 7 at Footprint Center.

Phoenix had several players and coaches placed in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols during the season including head coach Monty Williams and associate head coach Kevin Young.

Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder each missed five games in health and safety protocols. Devin Booker was out four games, Landry Shamet and JaVale McGee each missed three while Elfrid Payton and Ish Wainright each sat a game in protocols.

Gates was in his first season as an assistant in Phoenix as he had previously been an assistant under Williams in New Orleans.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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