Some NBA teams facing a scheduling crunch in second half of season

The NBA will reschedule 30 out of its 32 postponed games for the second half of the season, which will begin on March 10 and conclude on ...


The NBA will reschedule 30 out of its 32 postponed games for the second half of the season, which will begin on March 10 and conclude on May 16.

The San Antonio Spurs (40 games), Memphis Grizzlies (40), Dallas Mavericks (38), Houston Rockets (38) and Washington Wizards (38) will play the majority of their games of a 72-game season due to postponed games linked to the league’s health and safety protocols with handling the coronavirus. The other two postponed games were already rescheduled.

Because of those postponements, some teams have faced a scheduling crunch with back-to-backs with the Grizzlies (11), Mavericks (10), Spurs (seven), Rockets (seven) and Wizards (seven). The Wizards will have a six-game, 10-day trip that begins in Florida (Raptors, Magic), has stops in Phoenix and Utah and concludes in California (Warriors, Kings). The Mavericks have a five-game, seven-day trip in New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Boston, New York and Washington. And the Grizzlies have a seven-game, 10-day trip in what they said in the longest during the Memphis era of the franchise. 

The second half of the NBA schedule begins seven days after the first half’s conclusion and three days following the NBA All-Star game in Atlanta. The NBA playoffs will begin on May 22, giving playoff-clinching teams a six-game window to rest and prepare while a play-in tournament takes place between May 18-21 to determine the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference.

The teams with the seventh-highest through tenth-highest winning percentage in each conference qualifies for the play-in tournament. That consists of the seventh and eighth seeds having an opportunity to win one game to clinch a playoff sport, while the ninth and tenth seeds need to win two consecutive games to make the playoffs. The NBA first installed this setup when it resumed the 2019-20 season last summer in a quarantine site near Orlando.

ESPN & ABC has committed toward television a combined 49 games during the second half of the season, while TNT will air 31 games. But the NBA said the game schedules for TNT and ESPN for the final week of the regular season (May 10-16) “will be determined at a later date in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.”

The NBA has expressed hope it won’t have to postpone games because of enforced safety protocols and reduced infection COVID-19 rates in certain parts of the country. But it is possible that at least some teams won’t complete its full 72-game schedule.

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.



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