Los Angeles (AFP)
The Los Angeles Lakers open the campaign to defend their NBA champion with a strong confrontation against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 22, and the League announced that revealed only the first three days of the season program, at a time when 48 appeared. Positive case of Coronavirus among various clubs.
The start of the new season comes 10 weeks after the end of the last season, which was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic before it resumed its activity in late July and saw the Lakers led by LeBron James win the title by beating the Miami Heat in the final round.
Another match will be held on December 22 between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets, which will see the return of first-person Kevin Durant, who has not played a match since undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon in June 2019.
The 23rd of this month also witnesses a strong confrontation between the Milwaukee Bucks, led by its Greek star, Yannis Antitokunembo, against Boston Celtics and its rising star Jason Tatum, in addition to another match between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.
No match will be held on the 24th. Still, the date of 25 will witness the establishment of 5 games, most notably the Lakers’ confrontations with the Mavericks, the Miami Heat against the Pelicans of New Orleans, and the Golden State Warriors with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The next league table will be revealed on Friday.
With the continuing outbreak of “Covid-19”, the public will be absent from the stands at the beginning of the new season, but the clubs will play on their soil instead of gathering in one place, and the regular season will end on May 16th.
Each team will play three matches against each of its rivals in the same region, compared to two games against each of its rivals in the other region (east or west).
-48 positive cases-
The League also announced the presence of 48 cases of Coronavirus among the players of the clubs participating in the American League, as a result of the results of 546 tests that took place between 24 and 30 November, which is a high number compared to the few cases that appeared during the presence of teams in the Orlando bubble when it resumed activity in late July / Last July.
The San Francisco-based Golden State Warriors announced that they had delayed the team’s return to individual training by one day this week due to the presence of positive cases in its ranks.
According to the health procedures approved by the League of Nations, any player with Covid-19 must quarantine himself for at least 10 days, and maybe more if he suffers from symptoms.
An anonymous information line will be created to report any health protocol violations, something that was also used in the Orlando Bubble.
The size of the teams’ delegations traveling for matches away from the stadium will be limited to 45 people, including 17 players.
It is noteworthy that the league teams began their training this week, and they can play test matches for the new season as of the current 11th.
It was agreed that 72 matches would be played in the regular season instead of 82. This will allow the playoffs to be held in May and the final round in July before the Olympic Games in Tokyo (23 July – 8 August).
– New Mechanism –
The biggest change will be in determining the top eight teams for the “Playoff” stage between clubs in the Eastern and Western regions.
Usually, the first eight teams from each region qualify for the “Playoff” stage. The League plans to play a mini-tournament between the teams ranked seventh to the tenth to determine the seventh and eighth-seeded.
A similar mechanism was used last season when the league resumed in the Orlando bubble after a four-month closure due to the outbreak of the new Corona pandemic.
Under the new mechanism, the team with the seventh-highest wins in each region will play a home match against the eighth-placed team in the same area.
Consequently, the winning team in that match will be ranked seventh, while the loser will then play a playoff match with the winner of the confrontation between the ninth and tenth-placed teams to determine the eighth play-off.