NBA releases seeding games schedule, Raptors to face Lakers first

With the NBA announcing its game schedules for the 8 seeding games to restart the 2019-20 season, the ESPN panel debates why the Toronto Raptors shouldn't be counted out as the defending champions. Courtesy of ESPN.

The NBA released the full schedule for the seeding games of its return-to-play plan on Friday, and when the league does return from its COVID-19-induced pause, the Toronto Raptors‘ first opponent will be the Los Angeles Lakers on Aug. 1.

After facing the Lakers, Toronto’s schedule for its remaining seven seeding games will unfold as follows:

• Game 2: Miami Heat, Aug. 3

• Game 3: Orlando Magic, Aug. 5

• Game 4: Boston Celtics, Aug. 7

• Game 5: Memphis Grizzlies, Aug. 9

• Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks, Aug. 10

• Game 7: Philadelphia 76ers, Aug. 12

• Game 8: Denver Nuggets, Aug. 14

The NBA plans to return to action on July 30 after it was forced to suspend the 2019-20 campaign on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under this format for the restart, the 22 participating teams will be the eight teams in each conference with the highest current winning percentages and the six teams that are currently within six games of the eighth seed in either conference.

After the seeding games conclude, the seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages across regular-season games and seeding games will be the first through seventh seeds for the playoffs for that conference.

If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage in a conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best winning percentage would become the final playoff team in each conference. If the ninth-ranked team trails by four games or less, a play-in tournament would determine the final seed.

With files from Associated Press

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