The NBA officially restarts

Basketball

The NBA officially restarts

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BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, July 31, 2020

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It has been more than 140 days since meaningful, competitive ball was played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The season was postponed on March 11, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic— it officially restarted last night.

On June 4, 2020, the NBA's board of governors approved a competitive format for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. With the continuous mounting cases of coronavirus in Florida, there were doubts whether this restart would happen but, with only three positive tests within the 'NBA Bubble', the NBA moved ahead with the approved plans.

The plans include rigorous health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.

Sports, in general, and the NBA players, in particular, have been very vocal in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The NBA, in turn, has sanctioned 'kneeling' and for the courts to display the BLM message during games. The players have been invited to create slogans which will appear on their jerseys with social justice messages against racism and police brutality, ranging from 'I Can't Breathe' to 'Justice Now' and 'Education Reform'.

To limit the number of personnel inside the 'bubble', only 22 of the league's 30 teams will be participating. Teams with no chance of progressing to the post-season (at the time of the postponement) are not involved; the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Golden State Warriors will sit out the restart and prepare for the 2020-21 season slated to begin in December 2020.

Additionally, very few will argue that crowd support plays a significant part in both building momentum and creating tension in sport. More so basketball where the proximity of the fans and players means that is often magnified.

This will be missing for the rest of the season and the psychological advantage of the 'home crowd' will not be a factor since all games will be played at a neutral venue with just the bench players, coaches, backroom staff and NBA personnel present.

And unlike the English Premier League, the NBA has decided not to pump pre-recorded crowd noise into the venue.

Several notable players will not participate (or participate later) in the restart for various reasons including injury, positive COVID-19 tests, or personal choice.

The Brooklyn Nets are particularly affected with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, and Spencer Dinwiddie are all out — Jordan, Prince and Dinwiddie recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Other significant absences include LaMarcus Aldridge from the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers will be missing Avery Bradley, the Portland Trail Blazers will minus Trevor Ariza and the Washington Wizards will be short of Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans.

Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games (ending on August 14) to figure out play-off seeding, and these will, for the most part, be played during the daytime. The top seven teams in each conference will advance, with the final eighth seed in each conference being determined by a potential play-in tournament (August 15 and 16) before the traditional 16-team play-offs.

For the play-in tournament at the end of the regular season, if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, no play-in tournament would be necessary.

However, if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, then there will be a best-of-three play-in tournament for the final play-off spot.

The teams with immediate interest in this play-in tournament are the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards.

In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks hold the best record as well as the best overall record in the league. Reigning Most Valuable (MVP) Player Giannis Antetokounmpo was having another glittering season prior to the lockdown but that was four months ago, and the Bucks are hoping he will return in-form and land their first NBA title since 1971.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the number one-ranked team in the Western Conference. LeBron James, in his 17th season in the league, is trying to win the Lakers' their 17th NBA title but city rivals Los Angeles Clippers have reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in their camp.

Both LeBron and Kawhi have won championships with two other franchises and are both vying for the same slice of history — winning the NBA Finals with three different franchises. This will be interesting down the stretch.

This current situation is unprecedented, and anything could change depending on the state of the pandemic. However, 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!

31-Jul-2020 ODDS
Time Game HOME AWAY
14:30 NETS vs MAGIC 1.36
16:00 TRAIL BLAZERS vs GRIZZLIES 1.81 2.05
16:00 WIZARDS vs SUNS 3.25 1.37
18:30 BUCKS vs CELTICS 1.51 2.65
20:00 SPURS vs KINGS 2.14 1.74
21:00 MAVERICKS vs ROCKETS 1.88 1.96
1-Aug-2020
Time Game
13:00 NUGGETS vs HEAT 1.85 2.00
15:30 THUNDER vs JAZZ 1.90 1.95
18:00 CLIPPERS vs PELICANS 1.52 2.60
19:00 PACERS vs 76ERS 2.80 1.46
20:30 RAPTORS vs LAKERS 2.42 1.59
2-Aug-2020
Time Game
14:00 NETS vs WIZARDS TBA TBA
15:30 CELTICS vs TRAIL BLAZERS TBA TBA
16:00 GRIZZLIES vs SPURS TBA TBA
18:00 MAGIC vs KINGS TBA TBA
20:30 ROCKETS vs BUCKS TBA TBA
21:00 SUNS vs MAVERICKS TBA TBA
3-Aug-2020
Time Game
13:30 HEAT vs RAPTORS TBA TBA
14:00 THUNDER vs NUGGETS TBA TBA
16:00 WIZARDS vs PACERS TBA TBA
18:30 PELICANS vs GRIZZLIES TBA TBA
20:00 76ERS vs SPURS TBA TBA
21:00 JAZZ vs LAKERS TBA TBA


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