The traditional NBA “playoffs” begin this Saturday (22). A phase of reduced classification – due to difficulties in the calendar amid the epidemic of new coronaviruses – has ended and a type of entrance examination for the four last locations has been completed – called “play-in”, an unprecedented In the format played -, the North American Basketball League rehearses its return to normalcy.
Unlike the previous season, the final phase would not be performed in a “bubble” format, as the security environment against the Kovid-19 set up at the Disney Complex on the outskirts of Orlando became known. It will be in the teams’ gymnasiums that they will fight for the 2020/21 championship trophy.
If the previous cup was picked up on a court by players from the Los Angeles Lakers that neither grandstands had, in front of only a few family members, it is now expected that the matches will develop in an environment that is similar to one. Existed before the presence of Sars-CoV-2. And this is only possible with the audience at Arenas.
All households in the 16 classified teams are already allowed to receive spectators, although there is still a wide variation in the level of sanctions imposed from one state to another in the United States. Madison Square Garden in New York is open to 15,000 people. The Moda Center in Portland has a limit of 2,000 for now.
League leaders are working with local authorities in an effort to raise these numbers to the knockout stage. For this reason, they have encouraged vaccination of fans so that they can occupy particular areas without the need for immune distances, thereby expanding business capacity.
The application of vaccines in the country is rapid. The US government has purchased enough doses to immunize its entire population of 330 million three times and has already applied at least one dose to 60% of adults. Vaccinations are available to all interested parties, including foreign tourists.
The NBA recently reported that 75% of its players have been vaccinated, athletes who have come to follow a much less strict protocol than those adopted throughout the season. On the other hand, those who refused to take Sting in hand are subject to a period of absence, as happened recently with Lakers owner Dennis Schroder.
It was clearly out of shape two weeks after Schroder that the Los Angeles team survived the play-in last Wednesday with a win over LeBron James’ decisive basket and the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers have a tough campaign in defense of an injury-riddled title, but have moved up to seventh in the Western Conference and survive.
Among his challengers to Key’s left is another team from Los Angeles, the Clippers. The stunning Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns, first and second in the conference, present themselves as candidates to oust the defending champions and advance to a decision set for July.
The former also surprises, such as the New York Knicks, ranked in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The partisanship on this side is divided between the Philadelphia 76ers, the first-stage leader, the Milwaukee Bucks, chief. Giannis Entetoconampo, and the Brooklyn Nets, which brought together the talents of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
The quarter-final series of each conference, played in a better-than-seven format, will take place on opening weekend. This Saturday, Milwaukee Bucks x Miami Heat (3 pm, SporTV 3), Los Angeles Clippers x Dallas Mavericks (5:30 pm, SporTV 3), Brooklyn Nets x Boston Celtics (9 pm, ESPN) and Denver Nuggets x Portland Trail Blazers (11:30 pm, ESPN).
NBA playoff clash
Utah Jazz (1º) x Memphis Grizzlies (8º)
Los Angeles Clippers (4º) x Dallas Mavericks (5º)
Denver Nuggets (3º) x Portland Trail Balzers (6º)
Phoenix Sun (2º) x Los Angeles Lakers (7º)
Philadelphia 76ers (1º) x Washington Wizards (8º)
New York Knicks (4º) x Atlanta Hawks (5º)
Milwaukee Bucks (3º) x Miami Heat (6º)
Brooklyn Nets (2º) x Boston Celtics (7º)