US basketball

Antetokounmpo, Harden enter COVID-19 protocols


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Antetokounmpo, Harden enter COVID-19 protocols

MVP. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo averages a double-double this season.

Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden join a growing list of high-profile NBA players to enter the NBA's COVID-19 protocols

Milwaukee superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was placed in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, leaving the Bucks without their best player for their home game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, December 15 (Thursday, December 16, Manila time).

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols Tuesday night before Brooklyn’s game against the Toronto Raptors

Antetokounmpo, 27, and Haden, 32,  join a growing list of high-profile NBA players to enter COVID protocols recently. Other notable names include Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, and James Johnson.

Bruce Brown likewise entered the protocols, raising the Nets’ total to seven players affected by the virus. 

Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA Finals MVP and a five-time All-NBA selection, is having another strong season, averaging 27 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game.

Bucks guard Wesley Matthews also entered the league’s COVID protocols, according to multiple media reports, with the rest of the team undergoing testing.

Earlier Tuesday, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and James Johnson joined Paul Millsap in the COVID-19 protocols. Brooklyn also is without Joe Harris, who remains sidelined following left ankle surgery.

Harden and Aldridge have been key contributors as the Nets’ second- and third-leading scorers. Harden is averaging 20.8 points per game along with team highs in assists (9.6), rebounds (7.9), and steals (1.4).

Aldridge, 36, averages 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25 games (eight starts).

Brown, 25, is in his fourth NBA season and his second with Brooklyn. In 24 games (14 starts), he’s averaged 6.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game.

Bembry, 27, is averaging 5.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 26 games (11 starts).

Johnson, 34, has averages of 4.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 18 games (two starts).

Carter, 26, has played in 27 games (one start). He is averaging 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.

The Nets, who lead the NBA’s Eastern Conference at 19-8, open a five-game homestand on Tuesday. –

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