PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The NBA schedule for the restarted season has been set, with Zion Williamson, the Utah Jazz, and an all-Los Angeles matchup set for re-opening night on July 30. The Portland Trail Blazers will resume their season the day after and will play the Memphis Grizzlies on July 31.
Most days during the seeding-games portion of the season will feature between four and seven contests, all played in three different arenas at the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida.
Players will start arriving at the Disney complex on July 7, will be tested daily once they get there, and could be away from their families for more than three months. Families aren’t expected to be permitted on-site at Disney until the start of the second round of the playoffs, set to begin in late August or early September.
For the 22 teams going to Disney, the setup of the eight-game slates will be largely the same — one back-to-back for each of the clubs, with all the games set to be played in a 16-day span ending Aug. 14. The NBA will be using three arenas at Disney, and other than the two-game slate on the opening night there will be somewhere between four and seven games played each day.
There will be some very unusual elements, with games starting as early as 1 p.m. on weekdays, 12:30 p.m. on weekends and most nights seeing the slate end with 9 p.m. tip-offs — other than NBA Finals games, an absolute rarity for games being played on the East coast.
Plans call for 52 of the 88 seeding games to be nationally televised, with 18 on TNT (including the opening-night doubleheader), 17 on ESPN, 14 on NBA TV and three on ABC. Games will be shown in local markets as well.
Most of the arenas on the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus will be used for multiple games each day, with no tip-off scheduled for less than four hours apart in each of those three buildings — with the league allowing time in between games for sanitizing of everything that players, coaches or staff could come into contact with.
If a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in either conference is needed by the ninth-place team finishing within four games of the team in eighth, those games in a best-of-two series that the No. 9 team would need to sweep will begin on Aug. 15.
The NBA playoffs will begin Aug. 17, and the NBA Finals are set to begin Sept. 30 with a possible Game 7 on Oct. 13.
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