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Pistons game on Friday against Wizards postponed due to COVID concerns

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — The NBA’s issues with COVID contact tracing continue to spread throughout the league, and it’s reached the Pistons.

Their Friday matchup against the Washington Wizards has been postponed, in accordance with the league’s health and safety protocols. The Wizards, who have been dealing with contact tracing and have had players sitting out because of concerns about COVID exposure.

“Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards and Suns, the teams will not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with Friday night’s games,” the league noted in a release.

Blake Griffin

It’s the first game on the Pistons’ schedule that’s been impacted by safety protocols. The Wizards’ matchup Wednesday against the Utah Jazz previously had been postponed. Additionally, the NBA had postponed games with the Orlando Magic versus the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns.

The number of positive tests and close contacts have spread and the NBA, with an abundance of caution, is looking to prevent the possible spread between the Celtics, Wizards and Suns.

The NBA, in releasing only the first half of the schedule, allowed flexibility for some games to be rescheduled because of positive tests or games being postponed. The first half of the schedule goes through March 2 and the remainder of the schedule, including rescheduled or postponed games, will be announced closer to March.

Pistons' Jerami Grant drives past Jazz's Royce O'Neale and Derrick Favors in the fourth quarter.

Grant stays hot

One of the big surprises of the season has been the development of Jerami Grant, who is playing at an All-Star level, averaging 25.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers.

He’s moved up from a secondary player to a go-to, No. 1 scoring option.

“To see anybody take that kind of jump and really become (a top option) — he does it in a unique way, you want to say he’s a focal point of the offense,” coach Dwane Casey said, “but then lots of times, he just finds ways to score even when plays aren’t run for him, when it’s not necessarily for Jerami.

“He’s still finding ways to fill up the stat sheet, fill up the scoreboard, and I guess until you see a guy do it, you’re not sure. But it’s really been impressive.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer noted that even in Grant’s transition, he’s managed to increase his production while reducing his turnovers. With a much higher usage rate, he’s taking care of the ball and making sure that he’s a plus-player when he’s on the floor.

“Well, it’s unusual especially when you make that transition from a semi-role player to a go-to guy. Kudos to Jerami in that situation for being conscientious with the ball, understanding spacing, understanding where the defensive help is coming from,” Budenholzer said. “He’s done a good job of making that transition and his teammates have done a good job, knock on wood, of giving him space, creating space and continuing to move and not bring their man into his alley.”

Derrick Rose.

Rose out

Derrick Rose missed his second straight game, and third game this season, because of soreness in his left knee. Rose looked to sustain the injury originally in the game against the Bucks on Jan. 6, leaving in the second quarter and not returning to the game.

“He went through shootaround this morning and practiced (Tuesday),” Casey said before the game. “We'll see how he feels once he goes out and gets the shooting time.”

Rose did his normal warmup routine but was listed as inactive.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard