About this Deal
|After the coronavirus shut down the NBA season along with everything else, basketball finally returned on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, inside Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Negotiations between the league and the National Basketball Players Association resulted in a new deal that allowed play to resume after a hiatus of nearly five months, but the final pro basketball games of 2020 will be unlike any previous year. |
The best 22 of the league's 30 teams will play eight games to finish the regular season. From these, 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 before the traditional 16-team playoffs.
Even though the Walt Disney World theme park itself is open, social distancing requirements means that fans will not be in attendance for any of the NBA games. But the players themselves are already there and learning all the strange new rules required for life in the bubble.
The seeding games continued with some thrilling contests on Friday. James Harden exploded for 49 points to lead the Rockets over Kristaps Porzingis (who had 39 himself) and the Mavericks in overtime, while another overtime game resulted in the Blazers edging the Grizzlies. Today three teams that played on the first night return for a packed slate, including the Pelicans and Zion Williamson against the star-studded Clippers at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT), then LeBron James and the Lakers meeting a Toronto team playing its first game of the restart at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:50 p.m. PT).
With the basketball finally underway here's everything we know so far about the NBA's eagerly awaited return and how you can watch all the action.
How long does the season go?
The NBA resumed its regular season on July 30 and will end on Aug. 14, with any play-in games taking place, if necessary, on Aug. 15 and 16.
Each of the invited teams will play eight regular-season games to both figure out seeding and get ready for the playoffs. The exact schedule for each of the teams can be found on NBA.com, although games -- at least for most of the final weeks of the regular season -- will generally be played throughout the day.
When do the playoffs start?
The playoffs will begin on Aug. 17. Game 7 of the NBA Finals will take place, if necessary, no later than Oct. 13.
What NBA games are on TV today?
There's four games today on ESPN and one that won't be nationally televised. Here's what on tap for Saturday, Aug. 1:
Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on ESPN
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) on ESPN
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT)
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors led by Pascal Siakam at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:50 p.m. PT) on ESPN
How can I watch the NBA's restart on TV?
As in a regular non-COVID season, you can expect Disney-owned ABC and ESPN to broadcast games, with ABC broadcasting the NBA Finals. ESPN was previously announced as the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals.
AT&T-owned Turner Sports, which runs TNT and "jointly" manages the league's NBA Digital division that includes NBA TV, will also be broadcasting games. The network is a close NBA partner and broadcasts several regular-season games weekly as well as the bulk of playoff games. TNT was previously announced as the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Western Conference Finals.