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James Harden guarding LeBron James. (Getty)

NBA

NBA Bubble 2020: teams, schedule and how to watch games

The 2020 NBA season is finally back as the league put together a unique experience for teams, players and fans in Orlando. Here, you'll find out everything you need to know about the NBA bubble.

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James Harden guarding LeBron James. (Getty)

James Harden guarding LeBron James. (Getty)

The National Basketball Association is always two or three steps ahead of the rest of the major sports leagues in the world. The NBA bubble has been quite impressive thus far, keeping teams and players safe to guarantee the return of the best basketball in the world.

This one-of-a-kind season can only end on a high note after all the great efforts the league has put together. But, why is this 2020 NBA season so different from everything we've ever seen in all sports?

Well, besides never-seen camera angles and the campus experience players are going through right now, this will be the first time in NBA history that not all teams are going to have the chance to play. Also, it'll be the first time no fans will be in attendance.

So, how's this NBA's season schedule going to be? How does the NBA bubble work? Who has the higest odds to win the NBA title? and more importantly, how to watch it at home? We'll walk you through those questions and many more in the following paragraphs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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How Many NBA Teams Will Play?

The NBA only invited 22 teams to attend the Orlando bubble, meaning the 8 NBA teams that were already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs had to stay at home and plan ahead for the upcoming season.

The Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Golden State Warriors didn't make the cut this time.

Thus, the league will only have the top 9 seeds from the Eastern Conference (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards) and the top 12 from the Western Conference (Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs).

Giannis Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP. (Getty)

Will All Players Attend The NBA Bubble?

No, the league allowed them to opt-out of the remainder of the season without enforcing fines or penalties. Still, they'd be forced to forfeit the remainder of their prorated salary for the rest of the season. 

The NBA is enforcing mandatory daily Covid-19 testing for all players and team staff. Players who leave the bubble will have to isolate until they're cleared to join the rest of the team again. The players who opted out of the season are:

- Trevor Ariza, POR
- Avery Bradley, LAL
- Davis Bertans, WAS
- Willie Cauley-Stein, DAL
- Wilson Chandler, BKN
- Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN
- DeAndre Jordan, BKN
- Caleb Swanigan, POR
- Thabo Sefolosha, HOU
- Taurean Prince, BKN

What Teams Already Qualified For The Playoffs?

Eastern Conference:

- Milwaukee Bucks
- Toronto Raptors
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Indiana Pacers
- Philadelphia 76ers

Western Conference:

- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Utah Jazz
- Oklahoma City
- Dallas Mavericks

How Do The 2020 NBA Playoffs Work?

All teams will play 8 regular-season games for seeding purposes, including playoffs teams. Those teams that are still in contention to clinch one of the three remaining playoffs spots will have to significantly close the gap with the current 8th seeded team of their conference.

If less than 4 games separate the 8th and 9th seed of each conference, those teams will enter a play-in tournament. That tournament will require the 8th seeded team to win 1 game or the 9th seeded team to win 2 games. Eventually, the 8 best teams from each conference will complete the playoffs pool.

Then, teams will enter the 1st round of the playoffs, a best-of-seven series depending on their seeding. The team with the best record of the conference will face the 8th seed, and so it goes (2-7, 3-6, 4-5). The first to win 4 games will advance to the 2nd round, later the Conference Finals, and eventually, the NBA Finals (All series will be best-of-seven).

What Happens With Teams That Don't Make The Playoffs Or Are Eliminated?

Eliminated teams will leave the Disney campus and will round up the order of the 1st round of the 2020 NBA Draft depending on their record. The worst their record is, the higher they'll be seeded after lottery picks (15th - 30th pick).

NBA Bubble Schedule

The NBA bubble season will start on July 30 with the seeding games. That stage will go all the way to August 14. Play-in games, if necessary, will take place in the following days before the start of the playoffs. Moreover, the league is about to have all-day action like the NCAA's March Madness tournament, at least until the end of the regular season. 

The 1st round begins August 17, the conference semifinals begin August 31, and the conference finals begin September 15. The NBA Finals begin September 30 and will end no later than October 13.

Luka Doncic scoring by LeBron James. (Getty)

Who Will Win The NBA Finals?

  FanDuel DraftKings
Milwaukee Bucks +240 +250
Los Angeles Lakers  +260 +240
Los Angeles Clippers +320 +333
Houston Rockets +1200 +1300
Toronto Raptors +2000 +2200
Boston Celtics +2500 +1700
Denver Nuggets +2500 +2500
Miami Heat +2700 +3000
Philadelphia 76ers +2700 +2800
Utah Jazz +3300 +3300
Dallas Mavericks +3800 +4000
Indiana Pacers +10000 +10000
Oklahoma City Thunder +10000 +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +12000 +12000
Brooklyn Nets +16000 +15000
Portland Trail Blazers +16000 +15000
Memphis Grizzlies +21000 +20000
San Antonio Spurs +21000 +50000
Orlando Magic +21000 +30000
Phoenix Suns +25000 +50000
Sacramento Kings +25000 +50000
Washington Wizards +25000 +30000

FanDuel & DraftKings

How To Watch NBA Games?

ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and ABC will air National TV games. Moreover, all games will be aired on NBA League Pass. Annual subscriptions go from $19.99 to $39.99 depending on the package (NBA TV, League Pass, League Pass Premium).

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