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After A Pandemic Pause, Denver Nuggets Resume Season In Florida

The Denver Nuggets will resume their season in a "bubble" instituted by the National Basketball Association at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida in August.
SJ Grant
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CC BY 2.0
The Denver Nuggets will resume their season in a "bubble" instituted by the National Basketball Association at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida in August.

The Denver Nuggets were on their way to potentially a solid postseason run in March. But then, like with many other sports, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that. The National Basketball Association was one of the first sports leagues to put their season on hold when cases began to spike in the U.S.

But basketball is back — only it's happening in Florida, where there has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The NBA instituted a "bubble" for players and staff for teams, inviting 22 teams to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. After a short conclusion to the regular season, the playoffs will be played, and if everything goes well, the NBA Finals will be played in October.

Before all this happened, the Nuggets were one of the top teams in the Western Conference, trailing the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Clippers.

Like other sports, there won't be any fans in attendance, in accordance with health and safety regulations made in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams can't even shower in the arena after games. But after 20 weeks of waiting, wondering and worrying, the 2019-20 NBA season is ready to hit the restart button with a champion scheduled to be crowned in October.

The field for the 16-team playoff bracket that will be finalized in August is largely filled — 12 of the 22 teams have clinched spots. That leaves three teams vying for two spots in the Eastern Conference, and six teams for one spot in the Western Conference.

There will be at least four — and sometimes as many as seven — games per day, spread out over a three-arena corner of the Disney complex.

So, what can Colorado fans expect from their beloved Nuggets? Well, the week the season stopped, the Nuggets had lost to two of the worst teams in the league, the Cavaliers and the Warriors. They were also humiliated by the Clippers. It was revealed that star Nikola Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 on June 23 He has since recovered and joined the team in the bubble. Head coach Michael Malone revealed he also had the virus, likely in March as well. At the time, Malone's symptoms were not severe, so he wasn't able to get a test — he only found out after he recovered.

The Nuggets take on the Miami Heat this Saturday, Aug. 1 at 11:00 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. Altitude, the local channel that has broadcasting rights to the Nuggets, will be broadcasting other games for the remainder of the shortened season. Altitude remains in a contract dispute with Comcast and Dish Network, so subscribers to those providers won't be able to watch games on Altitude.

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