FLORIDA BUSINESS TRIP
The NBA resumes play after being shut down for more than four months by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some things to know about the games that are slated to begin Thursday:
• A total of 22 teams — nine from the Eastern Conference and 13 from the Western Conference — are participating. It includes all teams deemed to be within striking distance of a playoff spot. The Timberwolves are one of the eight teams not participating.
• All games, including the postseason, are taking place inside the “bubble” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., without fans in attendance.
• The 22 teams will play eight “seeding” games to determine who makes the playoffs and in what order. The biggest wrinkle: If the ninth-place team in a conference is within 3.5 games of the No. 8 team at the end of the seeding games, those teams will have a play-in to determine who gets the final postseason spot.
• The first round of the playoffs is set to begin Aug. 17, and the playoff format is unchanged from past years. The last possible date of the playoffs would be Oct. 13.