NBA: Suns coach Monty Williams, Blazers’ Billups enter COVID protocols

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Dec 28 2021 03:51 AM | Updated as of Dec 28 2021 04:13 AM

Suns head coach Monty Williams watches action against the San Antonio Spurs on December 6, 2021. Rick Scuteri, USA Today Sports/Reuters
Suns head coach Monty Williams watches action against the San Antonio Spurs on December 6, 2021. Rick Scuteri, USA Today Sports/Reuters

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams and Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups entered COVID-19 protocols, ESPN reported Monday.

Williams, 50, will miss Monday night's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The Suns (26-6) are a half-game behind Golden State (27-6) for the best record in the Western Conference.

Phoenix also has 2 players in the COVID-19 protocols in guard Elfrid Payton and forward Jae Crowder.

Meanwhile, assistant Scott Brooks will be the acting coach in Billups' absence, per the report, starting with Monday night's home game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Billups, 45, has a 13-19 record in his first season as an NBA head coach.

He was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020-21 following a 17-year NBA career with seven teams that included five All-Star selections and a 2004 NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons.

Portland also has 5 players in the health and safety protocols: Dennis Smith, Robert Covington, Keljin Blevins, Ben McLemore and Trendon Watford.

The Suns will look to bounce back from a rare loss when they continue their four-game homestand Monday night by facing Memphis.

Phoenix lost for just the third time in its past 28 games on Christmas Day on Saturday, 116-107 to the Golden State Warriors.

The defeat snapped the Suns' 15-game home winning streak and allowed the Warriors to move ahead of Phoenix atop the Western Conference standings.

Chris Paul had 21 points and eight assists in the loss, while leading scorer Devin Booker was held to 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting. 

"They played harder than us," Williams said. 

"And it is rare that I would even hint at saying that about our team. I thought they outworked us more consistently for 50/50 balls, timely offensive rebounds, diving out of bounds to save it to their own teammate. They made plays like that a number of times."