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2021 NBA Season Preview

   2021 NBA Season Preview

December 4, 2020

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The 2021 NBA season is shrouded with questions and looming concerns about how the league will pull off a full season with coronavirus still threatening people’s health around the world.

For a while, it was looking like the 2020-2021 season wouldn’t tip off until January. However, the NBA recently released their schedule and format. The 75th season will get underway on December 22nd. This is good news for many, as the tradition of Christmas day games being put in peril was off-putting to many.

The NBA Season Format

Although it’s easy to forget about divisions in the NBA because they don’t directly impact the playoffs, there are three divisions in each conference with five teams apiece. Each team will play all teams in their conference three times. The league randomly split the meetings for either two home and one road game in the series or two road games with one home game. Each team will also play 30 interconference games. It’s broken down easily to two games per each interconference team with a home and away game each.

We are left with 42 intraconference games and 30 interconference games, meaning the 2020-2021 regular season is 72 games long. Much like the 2019-2020 season, there will be another play-in tournament between teams ranked 7th through 10th. This will take place after the regular-season ends but before the first round. The No. 7 and No 8 teams benefit from double-elimination, whereas the No. 9 and No. 10 teams have to win back-to-back games to make it in.

I really dislike the format because the No. 7 team hosts the no. 8 team, and the No. 9 team hosts the No. 10 team. Then the winners of each face-off and the loser gets seeded as the No. 8 teams. So, what incentive is there to no blow a few games to drop into the lower bracket and have a better matchup? Why purposefully set it up so that no matter what, one of the higher-ranked teams is going to lose their spot to a lower-ranked team.

Basically, I do not understand why the No. 7 doesn’t host the No. 10, and No. 8, host the No. 9. Or at least No. 7 hosting no. 9 and No. 8 hosting No. 10. It doesn’t make sense to ensure that one of the teams behind the playoff relegation line gets in no matter what. Actually, this aspect is chewing at my insides as I write this.

I do not like it, but I digress.

The All-Star Break takes place from March 5th to March 10th, and the second half of the regular season resumes on March 11th. The play-in will take place between May 18 and May 21st. Then, the playoffs start directly after, on May 22nd, and run through July 22nd.

So, It’s a shorter season that still runs longer … again. I thought they were working on doing back to back home games each series to compress the season and limit travel. But hey, at least we almost get a full season. Regardless, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are the cappers favorites on their NBA picks to win it all.

The players wanted an extra bit of rest since they had loved in a bubble for 90-plus days. But the nice part is that we get to see the start of the NBA season in just a couple of weeks. Preseason is just a couple of games, running from December 11 through the 19th.

Opening Night & Christmas

The season will open with two games. The Golden State Warriors vs. Brooklyn Nets at 7 PM ET and the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers at 10 PM ET. On the 23rd, the Bucks face the Celtics, and the Mavericks head to Phoenix to play the Suns. As always, the teams get Christmas Eve off, and then there are a handful of games on Christmas.

Christmas Day has games running all day:

    • The Pelicans vs. Heat at Noon.
    • The Warriors vs. Bucks at 2:30 PM
    • The Nets vs. Celtics at 5 PM
    • The Mavericks vs. Lakers at 8 PM
    • The Clippers vs. Nuggets at 10:30 PM

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