Loving Basketball: 2020-21 NBA Season, Play-Ins, and Playoff

What a Season! The 2020-21 NBA Season has been quite interesting. What with covid and a lack of fan-fare. We must commend all the players for continuously entertaining us despite being in lockdown away from families and their fans. Yay yay yay. I hear your mutterings – they are only doing their job after all the big contracts and pay packages. True, but I believe that they could have opted out of the lockdown conditions during covid and still be legally or contractually un-liable. Well, what do I know; I’m just speaking from my heart. I am however glad that they didn’t and chose to play through it all.

The 2020-21 NBA Season started in December 2020. Now, it’s down to the wires as the Season officially ends on Sunday. Under normal circumstances, we would have known the eight teams that made the Playoffs which starts a week from Saturday (May 22nd). But since the Season’s circumstances were abnormal, there is a Play-In Tournament to determine the 7th and 8th seeds. The Play-In, starts before the Playoff Tournament, on May 18 through the 21st and, according to the NBA, “will include teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference.”

Is the Play-In an exception as a result of covid or does this become the NBA Playoff norm? We will find out sooner or later. I bet the ninth and tenth teams, given the opportunity to play-in, are glad, but it might be one game too many for the current seventh and eighth teams.

It has definitely been an interesting Season to watch. On the Western Conference, what with the 2019-20 Championship, LA Lakers, regressing from the #1 Team, and Golden State Warriors once the #15 team advancing, to both now needing to win to clinch a Playoff seed. Likewise, the Eastern Conference has seen an impressive Miami Heat already clinched the #5 playoff seed, while the once indomitable Boston Celtics is in the same boat as their Western Conference counterparts, LA Lakers.

No one team retained the #1 spot on either the Eastern or Western Conference throughout the Season. However, the Utah Jazz has maintained the #1 spot for the Western than any other, while the Philadelphia 76ers are currently Eastern Conference #1 seed.

Of course, playing rigorous, and sometimes heart-wrenching, 72 games took its toll on some of the players and some teams a lot more than others. See this current injury list of all teams. Understandably. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to all.

Life Lessons learned from the NBA Games

  • The greatest lesson learned, cliched as it may sound, is that nothing lasts forever. Never say never.
  • The other lesson is that resilience pays. Just watching the teams and players not giving up; one game after the other, was exciting sometimes playing through pain.
  • Grace was present for those players who merely and naturally were themselves and played for the love of the game, rather than for showbiz.
  • Opportunity might only come once in certain instances. Always be ready and prepared – no excuses. Watching how bench players had to step in and up. If they missed that opportunity, they get replaced or don’t get another chance for a long time. I wish that Coaches could give other players more playing times so that they can easily step in when the noted and more famous starter-players became injured. This one puzzles me all the time as it looks so simple, but I wonder why it’s not implemented so. I’ll love to know what the reason behind this is. It takes a few back-to-back losses for a team to recoup itself after an injury to the main player.
  • Basketball is a team sport, but sometimes it only takes one player to make the defying moment of victory. Often times, it is the least-expected player that makes it happen.

The next few days are highly expectant. I know it is for me. ThinkTalk wishes every team the very best.

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