By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
The NBA commissioner pondered pausing this season when the virus numbers were at their worst for many teams. Adam Silver didn’t. And with more than a few huge assists from unexpected players the league as able to continue playing and the season remained on schedule. It continued largely because of the more than 100 players who filled in briefly in December and January when variants were decimating rosters. The NBA Finals is happening when the league scheduled the series would be played nearly a year ago. The commissioner says those players are owed a debt of gratitude.