The NBA bubble games are set to tipoff on July 31, and it remains to be seen how the new setup will affect the actual feel of the game.
It is surreal that the NBA is back after almost 140 days of no action on the court. Despite everything that’s happening in the U.S., the league was able to devise a plan to keep the games going. The plan is not foolproof. One single positive case that comes up inside the bubble is enough to cancel the entire season.
NBA executives and medical professionals painstakingly thought through the plans. As such, fans have them to be thankful for. This season will be far from normal in terms of the viewing experience for the fans. It will even be more abnormal for the playing vibe of the players. Nonetheless, everyone just has to adjust to this new normal.
NBA bubble intensity to remain intact
The biggest drawback of the NBA bubble games is the loss of home-court advantage. Fortunately, the NBA has partnered with Microsoft to bring fans closer to the players virtually. Fans may be projected live on the giant screens around the court. Moreover, their noise and cheers may also be blasted through the speakers.
However, no amount of virtual fan experience can mirror the effect of an actual 20,000 or more crowd of people cheering. Washington Wizards head coach Scott brooks said,
“It’s different. There’s no way around it. It’s not the same, but you have to adjust. The teams that adjust quickly and don’t make excuses are the teams that are going to be successful. There’s no way around it. It’s different.”
Brooks’ point is as clear as day. For teams that continuously make alibis for not performing well, they might as well just bid goodbye to the bubble. Fortunately, there are only a handful of complaints inside the bubble. The majority of them are even minor.
NBA July 31 tipoff preview
The first night of the restarted games in the NBA bubble will be a great doubleheader. On one side, the game of the Pelicans versus the Jazz is a must-win for the former. On the other side, fans may be treated with a possible Western Conference Finals preview.
The Pelicans are currently sitting 3.5 games out of the Playoffs. As such, every seeding game in their schedule is a must-win. If not, the hype for Zion Williamson this season could just be for nothing. The young player has shown his potential when unleashed, but it remains to be seen if he has some rust to shake off due to the prolonged rest.
The Lakers and the Clippers, on the other hand, will bring their full arsenal of players to the game. Winning the game will not matter for their standing. However, a win for either team could completely change the narrative of their local rivalry. Also, their game could determine if the Playoffs bubble will truly have a solid atmosphere around it.
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