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NBA’s Return Means Title Shots for Lakers and Clippers

June 5th, 2020 · No Comments · Basketball, Clippers, coronavirus, Lakers, NBA

The NBA returning to action this season?

For a while there, it seemed unlikely.

Everyone’s attention was focused on the killer Covid-19 virus, as it should have been, and during the harrowing height of the pandemic it was easy to forget this salient basketball fact:

Los Angeles’s two teams would have lost a chance to win an NBA title.

When the league turned off the lights on March 11, nearly three months ago, the Lakers (49-14) and Clippers (44-20) sat 1-2 atop the Western Conference standings.

And the idea that a once-in-a-century (we hope) pandemic would leave the 2019-20 season unfinished … that was going to be hard for L.A. basketball fanatics to accept.

The Lakers were streaking along with their best team in a decade, led by the ageless LeBron James, 35, and Anthony Davis, and the Clippers seemed to be easing their way toward second place in the Western Conference behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and a great defense.

And the NBA season was going to end with L.A. fans playing “what if?”

Thankfully, it looks like enough progress has been made against the coronavirus/Covid-19 that the NBA plans to finish up things, resuming play on July 31.

Granted, it is going to be weird — 22 teams, with six teams not in the top 16, when the league went on hiatus, allowed to play their way into the eighth seed during a two-month tournament to be played in its entirety at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

OK, so it’s not perfect. It never was going to be, once it turned into the Most Fraught NBA Season Ever.

The tournament will be played in what the league and its players hope will be a Covid-free zone in Florida.

The Lakers and Clippers will not get to play in front of their home fans, losing a home-court advantage that might have lasted right into the NBA Finals.

But it seems fair to say that Lakers and Clippers fans will be happy to see their teams return to the court to make a run at a championship.

The Lakers have not been this competitive since the spring of 2010, when they won their most recent title, No. 16.

And the Clippers have never played for a title, let alone won one, but this group could have enough to change that.

Now, if Covid-19 leaves us alone long enough … we could have a trophy going to Los Angeles in mid-October.


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