Just 71 days after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title in a coronavirus-free bubble, the NBA kicked off Tuesday with home and away matches, with fans in some duels and a lot of uncertainty. It will feel more like a regular contest than was set up behind closed doors at Disney World last season. It certainly wouldn’t be completely “normal” with problems like positive Corona tests and postponed duels.
Some players get coronavirus, they get sick, and they can’t stay with the team for several days. That will have an effect, ”said Luca Duncic, the Slovenian star for the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA reported 48 players who tested positive during first tests at the start of preparation at the end of November. In the last test round, on December 16, there was only one positive test result.
American media reported that the players received a 134-page pamphlet containing several rules such as banning bars and avoiding public meetings with more than 15 people. Teams traveling for foreign matches may not bring more than seventeen players.
The clubs play 72 games in the regular season, ten less than usual. Some teams play against each other twice in a row in the same location to limit travel movements. Canadian Toronto Raptors conduct house duels in Florida so that there are no border restrictions.
The vast halls will often remain largely empty. Cleveland Cavaliers allows 300 fans. At Orlando Magic, the maximum is currently 4000 spectators. They wear mouth masks and fans near the stadium must undergo a quick test first. “Health and safety are essential. We want everyone to feel comfortable,” said Alex Martins, Director of Magic.
The last season ended on October 11 in the created Orlando Bubble. The new competition kicks off Tuesday with a match between the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors, followed by a match in Los Angeles, where the defending champions will face the Los Angeles Lakers Clippers. These are the first games since March to be played again in familiar surroundings. The competition must be completed in July, shortly before the start of the Olympics.
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