I’ll admit it: watching the first few scrimmages in the NBA bubble, I was not sure the experiment would be successful. After five months off, under these bizarre circumstances, I wasn’t sure the level of play would be what NBA fans expect — are these guys even in shape? Isn’t this all a little sudden? — nor was I sure that anyone would care about late-summer basketball in the first place. Plus, the lighting looked really strange, the silence was disorienting, and — weirdest of all for me — there weren't 35 photographers sitting cross-legged on the floor behind the baskets.
Though the first few games were indeed a little sloppy, they were close and competitive, and that above all is what NBA fans have been craving since Rudy Gobert became one of the first public figures to test positive for the coronavirus. This week the league plays though the back half of its restarted/truncated regular season/seeding games, which will determine the playoff bracket. But there's a wrinkle: if the eighth-seeded team in each conference is ahead of the ninth-seeded team by four games or fewer, those teams meet in a best-of-two play-in tournament, in which the burden is on the ninth-seeded team to win both games in order to sneak into the playoffs.
Halfway through the seeding schedule, with 4 or 5 games left on each team’s dance card, the picture is coming into focus: In the East, the teams — if not their seeds — are set, with Milwaukee having secured the top seed in the East, and Orlando a comfortable 6 games ahead of Charlotte for the eighth seed. In between, Miami, Indianapolis, and Philly are in a virtual tie for the fourth seed, and, in an illustration of just how unpredictable things are on a neutral court, Brooklyn was able to secure the seventh by shocking the mighty Milwaukee Bucks last week with what could most charitably be called their B-team.
In the West, things are a little more fluid: The Lakers have put the first seed just out of the Clippers’ reach at the top of the table, while Portland is is only half-game behind the fading Memphis Grizzlies at the bottom, so leave room in your schedule for a play-in tournament this weekend. And with Denver, Houston, Oklahoma City, and Utah all within 4 games of the Clippers, let’s just say the table is not exactly set.
Here is the schedule of remaining seeding games; Games with likely seeding implications in bold.
|Mon Aug 10||2:30 PM||Thunder vs. Suns||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Mon Aug 10||3:00 PM||Mavericks vs. Jazz||NBA TV|
|Mon Aug 10||4:30 PM||Raptors vs. Bucks||ESPN|
|Mon Aug 10||6:00 PM||Pacers vs. Heat||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Mon Aug 10||7:00 PM||Nuggets vs. Lakers||TNT|
|Tue Aug 11||11:00 AM||Nets vs. Magic||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Tue Aug 11||12:00 PM||Rockets vs. Spurs||NBA TV|
|Tue Aug 11||2:30 PM||Suns vs. 76ers||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Tue Aug 11||3:00 PM||Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Tue Aug 11||4:30 PM||Celtics vs. Grizzlies||TNT|
|Tue Aug 11||7:00 PM||Bucks vs. Wizards||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Tue Aug 11||7:00 PM||Pelicans vs. Kings||TNT|
|Wed Aug 12||2:00 PM||Pacers vs. Rockets||NBA TV|
|Wed Aug 12||4:30 PM||Raptors vs. 76ers||ESPN|
|Wed Aug 12||6:00 PM||Heat vs. Thunder||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Wed Aug 12||7:00 PM||Clippers vs. Nuggets||ESPN|
|Thu Aug 13||12:00 PM||Wizards vs. Celtics||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Thu Aug 13||1:30 PM||Kings vs. Lakers||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Thu Aug 13||4:00 PM||Bucks vs. Grizzlies||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Thu Aug 13||4:00 PM||Mavericks vs. Suns||TNT|
|Thu Aug 13||6:30 PM||Spurs vs. Jazz||TNT|
|Thu Aug 13||9:00 PM||Trail Blazers vs. Nets||TNT|
|Thu Aug 13||9:00 PM||Pelicans vs. Magic||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Fri Aug 14||TBD||Nuggets vs. Raptors||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Fri Aug 14||TBD||76ers vs. Rockets||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Fri Aug 14||TBD||Thunder vs. Clippers||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
|Fri Aug 14||TBD||Heat vs. Pacers||NBA League Pass or Team Pass|
Note: NBA League Pass games are subject to blackout rules in certain markets. To add NBA League Pass, go to sling.com/account or MyTV>Add Channels in the Sling TV app.