NBA owners approve return to play in late-July, Rockets clinch playoff berth

Houston Rockets NEWS

The NBA is back! Early Thursday afternoon, the NBA Board of Governors announced its approval for a 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, FL, According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Its been nearly three months since the league held its last game (March 11th) due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19.  

Under the league’s new construction, each of the 22 teams will play a total of eight games to determine the post-season seeding. Taking place inside the Walt Disney World Resort, the format will also include a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each of their respective conferences. The season will conclude with its usual post-season construction of a seven-game series in each of the playoff rounds. 

Before the league’s stoppage in March, the Houston Rockets sat sixth in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record. Since they currently possess the NBA’s 10th best record, the Rockets have already clinched a playoff berth by the time the league resumes play on July 31th.

The eight-game schedule will give Houston a chance to enhance their seeding for a favorable first-round opponent. Excluding the remaining eight teams who will not be heading to Orlando, a potential calendar for the Rockets may consist of matches against the: Lakers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Mavericks, Bucks, Pacers, 76ers and Raptors to close out the regular season.

The Rockets’ last contest took place on March 10 when James Harden tallied in 37 points en route to a 117-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. With the win, the Rockets ended a season-high four-game losing streak while sweeping the season series against the Timberwolves inside the Toyota Center.

In an attempt to keep players safe, the NBA has implemented a testing protocol plan to prevent the risk of COVID-19 — set to begin on June 22. 

(Photo Credit: NBAE,)

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