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2020 NBA Playoff Bracket: Life in the Bubble

Like Thunderdome, except for basketball teams, and there are 16 of them.

Below we present to you, at long last, the 2020 NBA Playoff bracket.

Like every other major sports league in North America, perhaps most of the world, the National Basketball Association’s in-progress season was halted in March. Nobody knew if the season would continue, or if it could continue. The logistics of trying to put on a sports season during a pandemic are enormous.

In the end, the NBA stuffed the viable teams into a bubble in Orlando, Florida. There, starting on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, sixteen teams will stand and one will be the 2020 NBA champion.

Among the teams in the running are the Toronto Raptors, the defending NBA champions. Not in the running are the Golden State Warriors, the dynasty vanquished by Toronto; Golden State had a terrible season and finished dead-last in the Western Conference and NBA overall.

Will Toronto repeat as NBA champions? Does either Los Angeles team, or someone else in the Eastern Conference, have something to say about that? The only ways to find out as proven by science are (1) to watch the 2020 NBA Playoffs and (2) watch the unfolding of the 2020 NBA Playoff bracket here on The Bracket Yard.

2020 NBA Playoff Bracket: Playoff Start

2020 NBA Playoffs Bracket - August 15

2020 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference

Milwaukee reigns as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, having finished with a league-best record of 56-17. Right behind them are the champs from Canada, who went 53-19 in their quest for a repeat. Toronto has qualified for the playoffs seven seasons in a row.

In order, the remaining six seeds are Boston, Indiana, Miami, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Orlando. Four teams from the Atlantic Division got inside the top eight. The Magic have made the postseason for consecutive seasons after six seasons on the outside. Boston is on its sixth-straight playoff appearance. Miami is the only Eastern Conference playoff team that did not also make it last year.

2020 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference

The two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers and Clippers, and one and two in the West, respectively. The Lakers got there in part by going 27-9 on the road in 2019-20. This is their first playoff appearance since 2013 and the Lakers’ best regular-season record since 2010-11. No doubt, winning one for Kobe Bryant will be on the minds of those in the Lakers franchise this summer and fall.

After the two from Los Angeles, the other West playoff teams are Denver, Houston, Oklahoma City, Utah, Dallas, and Portland. Memphis was the ninth seed but lost the play-in to Portland.

Oklahoma City has made it to the playoffs five years in a row and ten out of the last 11 seasons. The Thunder have not had a losing season since 2008-09. Portland is on a seven-season streak of making the postseason, while Houston has now done it eight straight years. Mark Cuban’s Mavericks are back in the playoffs after a three-year absence; they have not escaped the first round since their title run in 2011.

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