After the coronavirus shut down the NBA season along with everything else, basketball finally returned on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, inside Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Negotiations between the league and the National Basketball Players Association resulted in a new deal that allowed play to resume after a hiatus of nearly five months, but the final pro basketball games of 2020 will be unlike any previous year.
The best 22 of the league’s 30 teams will play eight games to finish the regular season. From these, the top seven teams in each conference will advance, with the final eighth seed in each conference being determined by a potential play-in tournament before the traditional 16-team playoffs.
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Even though the Walt Disney World theme park itself is open, social distancing requirements means that fans will not be in attendance for any of the NBA games. But the players themselves are already there and learning all the strange new rules required for life in the bubble.