NBA releases second half of 2020-21 schedule; Raptors return March 11

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) is defended by Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) and and Clint Capela (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

The NBA released the second half of its schedule for the 2020-21 season on Wednesday, which will follow the all-star break that takes place March 5-10.

The season will resume on Wednesday, March 10.

The Toronto Raptors will tip off the second half of their season against the Atlanta Hawks in Tampa on March 11.

Toronto, which did not see any of its games postponed in the first half of the season, will play 35 games in the second half, with 19 of them coming at Amalie Arena. Its longest "homestand" will be five games (from Apr. 13-21), while the longest road trip shall be four games (Apr. 29 – May 4). There will be eight back-to-backs.

As for U.S. national television appearances, the Raptors will have a total of four, with ESPN and TNT getting a game each and two coming on NBATV. The local television schedule will be released at a later date.

Toronto's full schedule can be viewed below:

In terms of the league as a whole, there are plenty of key matchups for fans to be excited for in the second half schedule, including the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angles Clippers (Apr. 4), the Lakers at the Brooklyn Nets (Apr. 10), the Golden State Warriors at the Boston Celtics (Apr. 17) and the Nets at the Milwaukee Bucks (May 2).

Creating a two-part schedule was so the league could include not only the remainder of each team’s contests, but any games that were postponed during the first half that could reasonably be added in.

Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies, then, who had a multitude of their games postponed, will be hit with a heavier schedule than some other clubs. Both the Spurs and Grizzlies are set to play 40 games, and the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have 38 each.

Of course, should COVID-19 rear its ugly head in the second half of the season and affect these teams again, they simply may not be able to meet the totality of the 72-game schedule.

The regular season is to be completed on May 16, which will be followed by a play-in tournament (for the 7-10 seeds in each conference) from May 18-21 and then the 2021 playoffs will begin May 22.

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