News ID: 270702
Published: 0200 GMT June 27, 2020

Lakers-Clippers highlight NBA's return from COVID-19 hiatus

Lakers-Clippers highlight NBA's return from COVID-19 hiatus

The NBA will offer a tasty Western Conference matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers when play resumes after a near four-month shutdown on July 30.

The game is one of two on the slate for the opening night of play in the season restart, which will be taking place with 22 teams competing in a "bubble" quarantine environment in Orlando, Florida, and playing games at the Walt Disney World Resort campus, AFP reported.

The NBA announced the schedule for 88 "seeding games" on Friday, starting with the July 30 double-header of the Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans and Lakers vs. Clippers.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who owned the best record in the league when play was shut down on March 11 after Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, highlight a six-game slate on July 31 taking on the Boston Celtics.

From there, the NBA will play up to seven games each day, with tip-offs taking place between noon and 9:00 p.m. (1600 GMT-0100 GMT) across three different courts at the sports complex at Disney World.

Each team will be designated as the home team in four seeding games and the visiting team in four seeding games.

The NBA said the seeding matchups were selected from the games that remained among the remaining 259 to be played in the regular season and will count toward the final regular-season standings and regular-season statistics.

But not every team will be around to finish out the disrupted season.

Nine teams in the post-season running from the Eastern Conference are led by the Bucks and the reigning champions Toronto Raptors.

They're joined by the Celtics, Miami heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.

Thirteen teams from the West are conference leaders the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and the Jazz.

The seven teams with the top overall season win percentages after the seeding games will take the top seven seeds in each conference for the NBA playoffs.

If the eighth-placed team in either conference leads the number nine club by more than four games in the overall standings, it will become the eighth seed in that conference.

If the gap is four games or fewer, there, those two clubs would meet in a one-game play-in matchup to decide the eighth spot.

That would set the field for a typical playoff run of four best-of-seven rounds, concluding with the NBA Finals ending no later than October 13.


Silver warning


Meanwhile, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the season could again be put on hold if there is a “significant spread” of COVID-19 among its players in Orlando.

Silver said the record number of cases in Florida recently has raised the level of concern but added that the use of the campus – where players will live, practice and play – is designed to limit risk of exposure to the surrounding community, Reuters reported.

Silver’s remarks came on the same day the NBA reported that 16 out of 302 players tested for COVID-19 on June 23 had tested positive. The league did not disclose the identities of the players.

Players are scheduled to begin traveling to Orlando on July 7.




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