Sports News NBA Postseason 2020
In a normal year, the NBA season has been over for nearly two and a half months and teams are thinking of returning to training camp soon. However, as we all know, 2020 has been anything but normal. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, halting the NBA, questions whether or not the season could be completed were very real. The NBA came up with a solution, albeit nothing like anyone has ever seen and hopefully never have to see again following this season.
The NBA teams remaining with a chance at the post season entered the “bubble” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The huge difference is that games were held without fans, and no home court advantage. This is a big variable missing in the equation, which somewhat levels the playing field in the playoffs.
Using digital technology, the NBA has tried its best to give the players and fans as normal of an experience as possible. LED screens around the arena 17 feet in height display hundreds of virtual fans wearing the “home team’s” colors. Interestingly enough, fans must go through a signup online to be one of the fans “in attendance”, so to speak.
There have been sounds added in attempts to combat the strangeness of dead silence that is normally seen at a pickup game at the local YMCA. Canned crowd noise from each team’s home arena is pumped in and fans at home can help kick up the volume by simply sending in tweets. There has been word that that the NBA could implement this beyond the season so fans at home get stay involved.
For those that have seen “bubble” games, the home team’s logo is on the court, which has also been done digitally, as well as virtual ads. There are only three courts at the complex, all completely generic. In essence games in the bubble have been real, with an added virtual reality, like something out of “The Twilight Zone”.
Whatever the case may be, the playoffs will take place with the Portland Trailblazers defeating the Memphis Grizzlies to enter as the final team in the Western Conference. They will take on the top seeded Lakers. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and Houston Rockets round out the top seeds in the West. In the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are the top seed with the best regular season record in the league. The Toronto Raptors are second, followed by the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers.
According to VegasInsider.com, the Bucks are slight favorites (5-2 odds) over both the Clippers and Lakers to win the title. The Raptors, Rockets, Celtics, and Nuggets have the next best odds. The biggest longshots are the Magic and the Nets, both at 240-to-1
All told, the NBA is making the most out of a difficult situation. No question the feel of the games are different and the look is unusual. Getting to the surface, it’s still NBA players battling for the ultimate goal, and that is to bring home a title. NBA playoff action and all the excitement and stellar play is set to begin and a champion will be crowned! That’s all anyone can ask for.