The NBA is back. After suspending the 2019-2020 season for over four months, the league will resume at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Twenty-two teams are currently in Orlando and will finish out the regular season. The playoffs will begin on Aug. 17 with the NBA Finals taking place around Sept. 30. There will be two games on Thursday night as Utah Jazz will face the New Orleans Pelicans while the Los Angeles Clippers will square off against the Los Angles Lakers. Both games will air on TNT. The Jazz/Pelicans game will start at 6:30 p.m. ET, and the Clippers/Lakers game will tip-off at 9 p.m.
In order to continue the season, the league set up a bubble for the 22 teams amid the COVID-19 outbreak. While some players have opted out of playing, it looks like the bubble is working as they have had zero positive tests over the past week. However, if an outbreak does occur, the season would "cease completely."
"It's health and safety first. That's always been our guidepost going into this," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Good Morning America. "We've worked very closely with the Players Association and all the teams on this, and we know — it's one thing we've always pointed out - that it's about relative safety at this point." Silver went on to say the league has had a "significant numbers of players" test positive for COVID-19 since the shutdown happened in March. He then noted the safest place in the world may be "on this campus at Disney. If that were to turn out to not be the case, we certainly would stop."
Now that the NBA is back, the next question is who are the teams that are favored to win the NBA Finals? The Milwaukee Bucks enter the restart with the best record in the league and show no signs of slowing down with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at the helm. So far this season Antetokounmpo has averaged nearly 30 points and 14 rebounds per contest.
The Lakers and Clippers are also title contenders as they are No. 1 and No. 2 in the Western Conference, respectively. Other teams to watch are the Jazz, Denver Nuggets Boston Celtics, and the Toronto Raptors, who are the reigning NBA Champions.