Four months after Basketball was forced into lockdown, the NBA action resumes on July 30 with Disney World hosting the remainder of the season.
Invites were given to 22 teams to base themselves in Orlando and play out the remainder of the 2020 NBA season – with the play-offs to follow on from August 17.
The plan is to keep the usual play-off system, with eight teams from each conference competing in best-of-seven series’, with the NBA champions due to be crowned in mid-October.
Lebron Seeks Lakers Success
As things stand following the first part of the season, LA Lakers lead the way in the West whilst in the East, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks that top the table.
In their final game before the enforced break, the Lakers beat the Bucks 113-103 at the Staples Center to take their record to 49-14.
Understandably, Lebron James will take all the attention in the build up to the restart, but the likes of Power forward Anthony Davis and Small forward Kyle Kuzma could play key roles for the Lakers.
The 16-time champions have gone a decade without a title, but they seem intent on putting that right this year and can be backed at
5/2 to lift the trophy this year.
There was certainly a sign of intent from Frank Vogel’s men in their final warm-up game, when they cruised to a 123-116 victory over Washington Wizards.
A Los Angeles rivalry will be reignited on July 1, when the Lakers face the Clippers, who are currently second in the West.
Bucks Look to Giannis to Bring Home the Prize
It’s been 39 years since the Bucks were last champions, but with last season’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leading them, this could be a campaign to remember.
They will be handed a stern test on their return though, with first versus third in their opening clash in Florida – when the Bucks face the Boston Celtics. The Bucks are
20/43 in the Moneyline, with the Celtics are tempting
Raptors and Pelicans Offer Value Options
The Conference leaders look like the two strongest teams heading into the return, but with no fans and no home advantage, it will be fascinating to see how the teams react.
Those punters eyeing a bigger price for this season’s NBA champions, they may want to consider the 2019 winners Toronto Raptors.
The Canadians suffered with key injuries earlier in the season and the enforced break could help their cause – with the likes of Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam returning to the fray.
Siakam scored 18 points and claimed six rebounds in a 110-104 warm-up win over Portland Trail Blazers for the Raptors, who are
15/2 to win the Eastern Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans have also looked good in their warm-up matches, beating Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and then the Bucks, by 21 points.
*All odds correct at time of writing