Despite COVID-19, NBA makes cautious but good restart

Sport

Despite COVID-19, NBA makes cautious but good restart

BY MARK ARCHER
Observer writer

Friday, August 07, 2020

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The NBA season has truly restarted, and it appears most things are going well.

Games kicked off last week Thursday and have been providing some thrilling action but also an expected level of laxity based on the lengthy layoff.

There have been questionable calls by the referees who may still be adjusting to the fan-less silence coupled with lengthy reviews to check for flagrant fouls.

However, there have been no reports of COVID-19 infections inside the Disney World bubble and the plans to complete the season may (hopefully) prove successful.

The NBA decided to suspend the season on March 11, 2020 following confirmation that Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the virus. Four-plus months later, Gobert scored the first points in the bubble and hit the game-clinching layup to give the Jazz a victory in the first game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Jazz went on to lose big against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers respectively, but it was a fitting moment of redemption for Gobert, who has been vilified in recent months for seemingly not taking the coronavirus seriously before he tested positive.

The Jazz have already confirmed their participation in the post-season since the worse they can place in the Western Conference is seventh. The Los Angeles Lakers have clinched the number one seed in the West and, along with the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks, are safely in.

The eighth and final spot in the West will be a ding-dong battle between the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns who are all within four games of each other.

The Spurs entered the bubble with low expectations, sitting in 12th place, with no LaMarcus Aldridge in the line-up. They jumped out with two big wins over the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies that put them in serious contention. They possibly have the best chance to advance as they don't play any of the top five teams the rest of the way.

The situation in the Eastern Conference is a lot more clear-cut since only nine teams were invited to the bubble. The first six post-season contenders have already been determined and the Washington Wizards will not make the cut after losing their first three games.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers have cemented the top six slots while the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic will battle for seventh and eighth place.

The Magic had impressive wins in their first two outings and were looking likely for the seventh seed, but forward Jonathan Isaac tore his left ACL in the victory over the Sacramento Kings this Sunday and will be out for a year. Isaac is a multi-dimensional defender who had been playing well when healthy this season. They can win without him, but it's certainly going to be a more difficult task in his absence.

Isaac, who had only just recovered from another major knee injury suffered on New Year's Day, was expected to miss the rest of this season but the delay caused by the pandemic gave him time to recover. Unfortunately, another year on the sidelines will likely mean him missing all of next season.

There has been no significant power shift in the NBA since the restart, but as the players (and referees) get reacquainted with their form and more acclimatized to the new normal, the level of play will intensify. Better interplay will be on display and more clutch performances will emerge as the season goes on.

Thankfully, the NBA is back and JustBet continues to offer odds for all popular sports and events (including eSports and virtual games) as soon as they become available.

Please visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit mobile.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…… Get in the GAME!

GAMES TO COME

7-Aug-2020

Time Game HOME AWAY

13:00 San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz TBA TBA

16:00 Memphis Grizzlies vs OKC Thunder TBA TBA

17:00 Brooklyn Nets vs Sacramento Kings TBA TBA

18:30 Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic TBA TBA

20:00 New Orleans Pelicans vs Washington Wizards TBA TBA

21:00 Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics TBA TBA

8-Aug-2020

Time Game HOME AWAY

13:00 Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Clippers TBA TBA

15:30 Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz TBA TBA

18:00 Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers TBA TBA

19:30 Miami Heat vs Phoenix Suns TBA TBA

20:30 Dallas Mavericks vs Milwaukee Bucks TBA TBA

9-Aug-2020

Time Game HOME AWAY

12:30 OKC Thunder vs Washington Wizards TBA TBA

14:00 Toronto Raptors vs Memphis Grizzlies TBA TBA

15:00 New Orleans Pelicans vs San Antonio Spurs TBA TBA

17:00 Boston Celtics vs Orlando Magic TBA TBA

18:30 Portland Trail Blazers vs Philadelphia 76ers TBA TBA

20:00 Sacramento Kings vs Houston Rockets TBA TBA

21:00 Los Angeles Clippers vs Brooklyn Nets TBA TBA

3-Aug-2020

Time Game HOME AWAY

14:30 Phoenix Suns vs OKC Thunder TBA TBA

15:00 Utah Jazz vs Dallas Mavericks TBA TBA

18:30 Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors TBA TBA

20:00 Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers TBA TBA

21:00 Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets TBA TBA


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