Orlando Bubble: Format, Schedule, and Invited Teams
To continue with the 2019-20 NBA season amid the coronavirus pandemic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver proposed a revised regular-season plan for teams that are in clear contention for playoff entry. The Orlando Bubble will see 22 out of the 30 teams from the league competing for the NBA championship inside the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The NBA Bubble will host revised regular-season fixtures and the playoffs inside Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. There are three facilities inside the complex where the games will take place.
The 22 invited teams are assigned hotels based on their seeding from the NBA table. Top four seeds from each conference will be staying at the Grand Destino, while the mid-four from the East and West will be staying at the Grand Floridian. The remaining six (five from the west and one from the east) will be staying at the Yacht Club.
The 22 teams from both conferences will play eight games each, which will count as per the regular-season format. Upon completion of these fixtures, there might be a possibility of a play-in tournament between the #8 and #9 seeds if the latter is within four games of the former. Post this, the playoffs will commence in the traditional best-of-seven series format.
However, strict social distancing must be followed at all times inside the Orlando Bubble. Using a mask is necessary at all times, except during meals. During games, each team will have two rows of benches. While the first bench isn’t required to wear masks, the second bench, consisting of coaches and trainers, have to wear them at all times.
Other facilities inside the Orlando Bubble
To keep the players engaged, each hotel will have a players-only lounge area consisting of televisions and gaming areas. Besides these facilities, the players will also receive access to barbers and spa services.
Moreover, the NBA has organized for DJ sets and movie screenings to keep the athletes occupied during non-game time. Additionally, players can try their hand at fishing, bowling, corn holes, and other outdoor activities.
Teams participating in the Orlando Bubble
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Toronto Raptors||LA Clippers|
|Boston Celtics||Denver Nuggets|
|Miami Heat||Utah Jazz|
|Indiana Pacers||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Houston Rockets|
|Brooklyn Nets||Dallas Mavericks|
|Orlando Magic||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Washington Wizards||Portland Trail Blazers|
|New Orleans Pelicans|
|San Antonio Spurs|
|July 30 - August 14||Seeding Games|
|August 15-16||Play In Tournaments|
|August 17||Playoffs begin|
|August 30||Family/Guests of teams arrive|
|August 31 - September 13||Conference Semifinals|
|September 15 - September 28||Conference Finals|
|September 30 - October 13||NBA Finals|
Are families allowed inside the Orlando bubble?
The league strictly stated that only players can enter the bubble at the beginning of the restart. This is due to the fact that the athletes would have to undergo a huge load of formalities to ensure maximum safety.
However, the league does not completely rule out the entry of guests into the bubble. Post the first round of the playoffs, the remaining teams are allowed to bring in limited guests inside the bubble. Of course, it goes without saying that the arriving guests would have to complete the mandatory period, after which they can reunite with their respective families.
Food inside the NBA bubble
It is no secret that athletes will find the bubble food a little less extraordinary from what they are accustomed to. But, the NBA brought in professional chef Shawn Loving to cater to the needs of the players when it comes to nutrition.
As per ‘The Daily Beast,’ Shawan Loving mentioned that he wants to create dishes that excite the players instead of boring them. "We’re definitely not swinging along—a mashed potato, green bean, and barbecue chicken sitting in front of you and you’ve got no choices,” Loving said. “That’s not an option. That’s not how we flow. We’re flowing with everything we can do.”
Here are some of the dishes that Loving has prepared inside the bubble: Vegetarian whole wheat pasta, egg white wraps filled with sweet potatoes and lean meat, arugula, kale, and romaine salads with hemp seeds, power smoothies pureed with sea moss, a vegetarian tagine, fresh red grouper, and homemade banana bread.
What is the protocol if an athlete tests positive for COVID?
The main reason why the league has organized such an isolated event is to eliminate the presence of the pandemic. However, it still looms large and is a threat almost everywhere in the world. If an NBA player tests positive for the virus inside the bubble, there would be chaos and a potential chance of him spreading it to everyone.
Thus, the league has guidelines charted out on how to proceed in such instances. “For anyone who does test positive, arrangements have been made to take them out of the bubble and to a special area where they are quarantined with appropriate medical care until it’s safe for them to return,” Harlan Selesnick, M.D., the team physician for the Miami Heat, informed ‘Popular Mechanics.’
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Where to watch the action from the Orlando Bubble?
There will be 88 seeding games played inside the bubble by the 22 teams. Furthermore, TNT will telecast the first two games of the restart. (6:30 p.m. E.T & 9:00 p.m. E.T)
ESPN will begin telecasting the games starting July 31, when the Celtics take on the Bucks (6:30 p.m. E.T). Moreover, ABC will telecast two games on August 2, when the Trail Blazers take on the Celtics (6:30 p.m. E.T) and when the Bucks face the Rockets (9:00 p.m. E.T)
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The games will be streamed on NBA TV during the first week. There will be seven games shown on NBA TV during this period, starting from July 31.