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NBA coming back: Playoffs, eight regular season games, play-in tournament

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The NBA is coming back. The league will resume on July 31st with 22 teams entering a ‘bubble’ in Orlando, playing eight regular season games prior to the playoffs. If the ninth seed is four games or fewer behind the eighth seed there will be a play-in tournament.

This is possible in both conferences, with the Washington Wizards behind the Eastern Conference’s lone non-playoff team returning.

All of this has been reported by the peerless Adrian Wojnarowski. It is subject to a meeting that is due to take place later today (Thursday), but it is expected that the following will be confirmed…

  • 22 NBA teams to return, the 16 in playoff spots plus the Kings, Suns, Spurs, Pelicans, Blazers and Wizards
  • League will operate in a ‘bubble’ at Walt Disney World Resort
  • Players and staff can use outdoor restaurants and golf courses while maintaining social distancing
  • Eight regular season games to be played by each team against others in the 22 – scheduled yet to be confirmed
  • If the eighth seeds are more than four games clear, they will go straight to playoffs. If they’re not, there will be a play-in tournament
  • Uniform daily testing will take place across the league, if someone tests positive, they will be removed and quarantine separately while games continue

It is a major change from the usual NBA trip. Players are accustomed to room service, but no staff will be allowed in their rooms. Social distancing guidelines must be followed at all times.

With almost two months until the scheduled restart, and then a run of eight regular season games to get back into the rhythm of competitive basketball, the NBA is affording its players much more preparation time than other leagues. This, once again, reflects the co-operation in the league and the important role the Players’ Association have in decision making.


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  1. Pingback: Winners and losers from the NBA's return in the bubble

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