Posted on: Wednesday, 29 July 2020 – 11:13 AM | Last update: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 – 11:13 AM
The start begins with two games that bring together Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers with superstar LeBron James, with the Los Angeles Clippers led by Kwahi Lennard, crowned last season by the Toronto Raptors.
The two games signal the launch of a hard-earned plan to end the season according to a modified formula, with the greatest possible safety in the midst of the “Covid-19” pandemic, which has so far resulted in the deaths of nearly 150,000 people in the United States.
In order to reduce the risks, the matches are held without an audience, and according to health procedures that include subjecting everyone to periodic checks to reveal “Covid-19”, provided that all teams reside in the complex that has come to be called the “bubble”, which extends over an area of about 104 square kilometers in Orlando .
The season will be completed by 22 of the 30 teams usually participating in the championship, and will compete for the 16 places that qualify for the playoffs, which start on August 17.
Each team will play eight games dedicated to the final classification, with the 16 teams that occupy the first eight places in both the eastern and western regions qualified for the “Playoff”. Interval matches will be held to determine the final centers, if needed.
The teams play their matches in three stadiums within the “ESBN Worldwide of Sports” complex, with the attendance of a limited number of journalists.
And the players, numbering about 350, reside in three hotels distributed in the complex, with restricted access to every hotel and strictly prohibiting visits from abroad until the launch of the “Play Off”.
The players coming to Orlando had to spend 48 hours in isolation in hotel rooms until two negative results were released for the examination of “Covid-19”, while continuing to take tests periodically within the “bubble”.
– “A great sacrifice” –
While top stars such as LeBron James have jokingly considered entering the “bubble” similar to the start of a prison sentence, the appeals project has gone smoothly so far, based on the preparatory matches held in preparation for the return of the competitions.
The latest series of tests, which were conducted on 346 players participating in the resumption of the special season, were negative.
Certainly, this constituted a relief for the League League days before the resumption of the season, especially after it announced in the previous wave of tests conducted on 322 players after their arrival in Orlando between the seventh and ninth of this month, about two positive cases of the virus whose identities were not identified.
In an interview with The New York Times this week, League League commissioner Adam Silver said the appeal plan “requires a great sacrifice from our players,” adding, “In my view, things are going well, and I am cautiously optimistic that we are on the right track.”
“But I also realize that what we are doing has not happened before, and the championship is in its infancy. The real test will come when the players get mixed, when they play basketball without gags and without physical spacing.”
However, there were some lapses in adapting to living in a closed complex, similar to what happened with the Los Angeles Clippers player Lou Williams who had to be quarantined for 10 days after being photographed at a strip club in Atlanta during a trip to a family funeral.
The Sacramento Kings Richawon Holmes player also returned to health custody after leaving the “bubble” to receive food from the delivery service.
Within the three stadiums in the “bubble,” there will be protests against the killing of black American citizen George Floyd last May by suffocation by a white policeman in Minneapolis, where the slogan of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign (“Black lives matter”) will be distributed throughout the stadiums. .
Players will also be allowed to wear shirts bearing messages calling for social justice such as “I cannot breathe”, “justice now” or “educational reforms.”
– Lebron and Yannis at the front.
In terms of competition, attention is being drawn to LeBron James and Greek star Milwaukee Bucks, Yannis Antikonembo, who will try to repeat the level they presented before deciding to suspend the season in March after discovering that Utah jazz player French Rudi Joubert was infected with the virus.
After the first disappointing season in the colors of the Lakers who failed to qualify for the “Play Off”, James returned strongly this season and led the team to the top of the western region, ensuring his qualification to the exclusionary roles for this region accompanied by neighbor Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, while the seventh and eighth cards competing for the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns (maximum Minnesota and Golden State) remain.
The biggest threat to James’s hopes for his fourth title on a personal level is expected to come from Yannis and Milwaukee, who had the best record in the Eastern Region and the overall standings before the layoff.
And Antiochonombo wished to lead Pax to his first title since 1971 when the team was crowned champions for the only time.
And when the season stopped, the Greek giant and his teammates were leading the eastern region by 6.5 games over the title holder Toronto Raptors, who included the Cups qualification for the playoff of the eastern region accompanied by the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia Seventh Sixers, while two cards remain to compete for Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards (extreme Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, and Cleveland).
In a statement to him earlier this month, Antitoconembo considered that winning this season would be “very difficult … you go somewhere without your family for three to four months, and you haven’t played basketball for three and a half or four months. Any team that wants more should be Mentally prepared for all eventualities. ”