2020–21 NBA season

The 2020–21 NBA season was the 75th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular season was reduced to 72 games for each team, and began on December 22, 2020.[1] The season started just 72 days after the completion of the 2020 NBA Finals, the shortest off-season in league history.[2] The 2021 NBA All-Star Game was played on March 7, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, and was won by Team LeBron, 170–150. A play-in tournament for teams ranked 7th through 10th in each conference was held from May 18 to May 21. The playoffs then ran under the standard 16-team playoff format from May 22 to July 20, 2021.[1] Due to COVID-19 cross-border restrictions imposed by the Canadian government, the Toronto Raptors played their 2020–21 home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.[3]

2020–21 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
SportBasketball
Duration
  • December 22, 2020 – May 16, 2021
  • May 18–21, 2021
    (Play-in tournament)
  • May 22 – July 3, 2021
    (Playoffs)
  • July 6–20, 2021
    (Finals)
Number of games72
Number of teams30
TV partner(s)ABC/ESPN, TNT, NBA TV
Draft
Top draft pickAnthony Edwards
Picked byMinnesota Timberwolves
Regular season
Top seedUtah Jazz
Season MVPNikola Jokić (Denver)
Top scorerStephen Curry (Golden State)
Playoffs
Eastern championsMilwaukee Bucks
  Eastern runners-upAtlanta Hawks
Western championsPhoenix Suns
  Western runners-upLos Angeles Clippers
Finals
ChampionsMilwaukee Bucks
  Runners-upPhoenix Suns
Finals MVPGiannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)
NBA seasons

TransactionsEdit

RetirementEdit

  • On September 8, 2020, Marvin Williams announced his retirement from the NBA. Williams played for four teams during his 15-year NBA career.[4]
  • On September 14, 2020, Leandro Barbosa announced his retirement from the NBA. Barbosa played 14 seasons in the NBA, winning one championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.[5][6]
  • On October 24, 2020, Kevin Séraphin announced his retirement from the NBA. Séraphin played for three teams during his seven-year NBA career.[7][8]
  • On November 16, 2020, Corey Brewer announced his retirement from the NBA. Brewer played for 12 years in the NBA for eight teams, winning one championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.[9]
  • On November 18, 2020, Dorell Wright announced his retirement from the NBA. Wright played for four teams during his 11-year NBA career, winning one championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.[10]
  • On November 25, 2020, Aaron Brooks announced his retirement from the NBA. Brooks played for seven teams during his 13-year NBA career.[11]
  • On November 30, 2020, Andrew Bogut announced his retirement from the NBA. Bogut played for five teams during his 14-year NBA career, winning one championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.[12][13]
  • On November 30, 2020, Evan Turner announced his retirement from the NBA. Turner played 10 seasons for five teams during his time in the NBA.[14]
  • On February 4, 2021, Lucas Nogueira announced his retirement from the NBA. Nogueira played for the Toronto Raptors for his entire four-year NBA career.[15]
  • On March 1, 2021, Joakim Noah announced his retirement from the NBA. Noah played for four teams during his 13-year NBA career. He was the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, and a two-time All-Star.[16]
  • On March 31, 2021, Thabo Sefolosha announced his retirement from the NBA. Sefolosha played for five teams during his 14-year NBA career. [17]
  • On April 15, 2021, LaMarcus Aldridge announced his retirement from the NBA as a result of heart issues and an irregular heartbeat after games. Aldridge played for three teams during his 15-year NBA career, and was a seven-time All-Star.[18]

Free agencyEdit

Free agency negotiations were scheduled to begin on October 18, 2020, but that date was delayed. On November 9, it was announced that free agency would begin on November 20 at 6 p.m. ET, with signings permitted starting at 12 p.m. ET on November 22.[19]

Coaching changesEdit

Coaching changes
Team 2019–20 season 2020–21 season
Off-season
Brooklyn Nets Jacque Vaughn (interim) Steve Nash
Chicago Bulls Jim Boylen Billy Donovan
Houston Rockets Mike D'Antoni Stephen Silas
Indiana Pacers Nate McMillan Nate Bjorkgren
Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers Tyronn Lue
New Orleans Pelicans Alvin Gentry Stan Van Gundy
New York Knicks Mike Miller (interim) Tom Thibodeau
Oklahoma City Thunder Billy Donovan Mark Daigneault
Philadelphia 76ers Brett Brown Doc Rivers
In-season
Atlanta Hawks Lloyd Pierce Nate McMillan (interim)
Minnesota Timberwolves Ryan Saunders Chris Finch

Off-seasonEdit

In-seasonEdit

PreseasonEdit

The COVID-19 pandemic in North America, which pushed the conclusion of the previous 2019–20 season and playoffs into the fall, had delayed the start date of training camp to November 10, 2020.[41] The preseason began on December 11 and ended on December 19.[42]

Regular seasonEdit

The start of the 2020–21 regular season was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA initially set a target date of December 1, 2020, to start the regular season.[43] However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suggested further delaying the season until at least January because local health orders at each NBA city would limit fan attendance. The NBA receives 40 percent of its revenue from attendance, and thus delaying the season until it is safer to let more fans into the arenas would ease the financial pain.[43][44] The NBA also contemplated organizing the schedule such that teams would have less travel, with back-to-back games in the same cities against the same opponent.[45] National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts suggested that the season might eventually have to begin within a "bubble" environment, similar to the 2020 playoffs.[46]

On October 13, the NBA delayed the targeted start date of the regular season from December 2020 to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18, 2021.[47] Later in October, Sports Illustrated reported that the NBA was targeting December 22, 2020, as the first day of the season.[48] On November 5, 2020, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) tentatively approved a 72-game regular season that began on December 22, 2020. The season featured a condensed schedule so that the NBA Finals could conclude by July 22, allowing NBA players to participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics; the Olympics were postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.[41][49][50]

On November 17, the NBA announced that the 72-game regular season would run from December 22 through May 16. Each team would play three games against each opponent from its own conference and two games against each interconference opponent. The season would include a six-day All-Star break from March 5 to 10. While the All-Star Game (which was originally scheduled for Indianapolis) was initially considered unlikely,[51][52] the NBA announced in February that the 2021 NBA All-Star Game would be held in Atlanta on March 7, 2021.[53] The schedule was released in two parts; the first half was released in early December, while the second half was released in the latter part of the first half.[1]

By conferenceEdit

Notes

  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot
  • * – Division leader

Postponed games due to COVID-19Edit

  • December 23: Oklahoma City vs. Houston – At least three Houston players tested positive or inconclusive, four other players were quarantined after contact tracing, and James Harden was unavailable after violating health and safety protocols.[54]
  • January 10: Miami vs. Boston – Ongoing contact tracing with Miami caused Miami to not have the required minimum of eight players available for the game.[55]
  • January 11: New Orleans vs. Dallas[56]
  • January 12: Boston vs. Chicago[56]
  • January 13:
    • Orlando vs. Boston – Due to testing and contact tracing, Boston did not have the required minimum of eight players available for the game.[57]
    • Utah vs. Washington – Washington did not have the required minimum of eight players available for the game.[58]
    • Atlanta vs. Phoenix – Phoenix did not have the required minimum of eight players available.[59]
  • January 15:
    • Golden State vs. Phoenix – Phoenix continued to not have the required minimum of eight players available due to testing and contact tracing.[60]
    • Washington vs. Detroit – Washington continued to not have the required minimum of eight players available.[60]
    • Memphis vs. Minnesota – Minnesota did not have the required minimum of eight players.[61]
  • January 16: Indiana vs. Phoenix – Phoenix still did not have enough available players.[62]
  • January 17:
    • Cleveland vs. Washington – Washington still did not have enough available players.[63]
    • Philadelphia vs. Oklahoma City – Philadelphia did not have enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[64]
  • January 18: Cleveland vs. Washington – Washington continued to not have enough players.[63]
  • January 20:
    • Washington vs. Charlotte – Washington continued to not have enough players.[65]
    • Memphis vs. Portland – Memphis had an outbreak.[66]
  • January 22:
    • Washington vs. Milwaukee – Washington's sixth consecutive postponed game.[67]
    • Memphis vs. Portland – Memphis did not have enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[68]
  • January 24: Sacramento vs. Memphis – Memphis did not have enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[68]
  • January 25:
    • Sacramento vs. Memphis – Memphis did not have enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[68]
    • San Antonio vs. New Orleans – Neither team had enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[69]
  • January 27: Chicago vs. Memphis – Memphis did not have enough available players due to ongoing contact tracing.[70]
  • February 1: Detroit vs. Denver – Detroit did not have enough players due to ongoing contact tracing.[71]
  • February 7: Portland vs. Charlotte – This game was moved to the second half of the season, allowing the Washington vs. Charlotte game that was originally scheduled on January 20 to be rescheduled on this day instead.[72]
  • February 16: San Antonio vs. Detroit – San Antonio did not have enough players due to ongoing contact tracing.[73]
  • February 17:
    • San Antonio vs. Cleveland – San Antonio continued to not have enough players due to ongoing contact tracing.[74]
    • Chicago vs. Charlotte – Charlotte did not have enough players due to ongoing contact tracing.[74]
  • February 19: Detroit vs. Charlotte – Charlotte continued to be under COVID-19 protocol.[74]
  • February 20: San Antonio vs. New York – San Antonio continued to be under COVID-19 protocol.[74]
  • February 22: San Antonio vs. Indiana – San Antonio continued to be under COVID-19 protocol.[74]
  • February 28: Chicago vs. Toronto – Toronto had positive COVID-19 test results.[75]

Postponed games due to other reasonsEdit

All-Star WeekendEdit

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game was played on March 7, 2021. Teams were captained by LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and Team LeBron won the game 170–150.

Play-in tournamentEdit

The NBA staged a play-in tournament for teams ranked 7th through 10th in each conference from May 18 to May 21. The 7th place team hosted the 8th place team with the winner clinching the 7th seed in the playoffs. The 9th place team hosted the 10th place team with the loser being eliminated from playoff contention. The 7th–8th place game's loser then hosted the 9th–10th place game's winner, with the winner clinching the 8th seed and the loser being eliminated.[1]

Eastern Conference Play-inEdit

  Play-in games #8 seed game Final seeds
                           
7 Boston 118  
8 Washington 100         7 Boston No. 7 seed
      8 Washington 142   8 Washington No. 8 seed
  9 Indiana 115  
9 Indiana 144
10 Charlotte 117  

Bold Game winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage

Western Conference Play-inEdit

  Play-in games #8 seed game Final seeds
                           
7 LA Lakers 103  
8 Golden State 100         7 LA Lakers No. 7 seed
      8 Golden State 112   9 Memphis No. 8 seed
  9 Memphis 117*  
9 Memphis 100
10 San Antonio 96  

Bold Game winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
* Indicates overtime victory

PlayoffsEdit

The playoffs began on May 22 and operate under the standard 16-team playoff format, with four rounds of best-of-seven series. The 2021 NBA Finals will begin no later than July 8, with a potential Game 7 no later than July 22.[1]

BracketEdit

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
E1 Philadelphia* 4  
E8 Washington 1  
  E1 Philadelphia* 3  
  E5 Atlanta* 4  
E4 New York 1
E5 Atlanta* 4  
  E5 Atlanta* 2  
Eastern Conference
  E3 Milwaukee* 4  
E3 Milwaukee* 4  
E6 Miami 0  
  E3 Milwaukee* 4
  E2 Brooklyn 3  
E2 Brooklyn 4
E7 Boston 1  
  E3 Milwaukee* 4
  W2 Phoenix* 2
W1 Utah* 4  
W8 Memphis 1  
  W1 Utah* 2
  W4 LA Clippers 4  
W4 LA Clippers 4
W5 Dallas* 3  
  W4 LA Clippers 2
Western Conference
  W2 Phoenix* 4  
W3 Denver 4  
W6 Portland 2  
  W3 Denver 0
  W2 Phoenix* 4  
W2 Phoenix* 4
W7 LA Lakers 2  

* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage

StatisticsEdit

Individual statistic leadersEdit

Category Player Team(s) Statistic
Points per game Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors 32.0
Rebounds per game Clint Capela Atlanta Hawks 14.3
Assists per game Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards 11.7
Steals per game Jimmy Butler Miami Heat 2.1
Blocks per game Myles Turner Indiana Pacers 3.4
Turnovers per game Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards 4.8
Fouls per game Karl-Anthony Towns Minnesota Timberwolves 3.7
Minutes per game Julius Randle New York Knicks 37.6
FG% Rudy Gobert Utah Jazz 67.4%
FT% Chris Paul Phoenix Suns 93.4%
3FG% Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets 47.5%
Efficiency per game Nikola Jokić Denver Nuggets 35.9
Double-doubles Nikola Jokić Denver Nuggets 60
Triple-doubles Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards 38

Individual game highsEdit

Category Player Team Statistic
Points Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors 62
Rebounds Enes Kanter Portland Trail Blazers 30
Assists Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards 24
Steals T. J. McConnell Indiana Pacers 10
Blocks Clint Capela Atlanta Hawks 10
Three pointers Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors 11
Fred VanVleet Toronto Raptors

Team statistic leadersEdit

Category Team Statistic
Points per game Milwaukee Bucks 120.1
Rebounds per game Utah Jazz 48.3
Assists per game Golden State Warriors 27.7
Steals per game Memphis Grizzlies 9.1
Blocks per game Indiana Pacers 6.4
Turnovers per game Oklahoma City Thunder 16.1
Fouls per game Washington Wizards 21.6
FG% Brooklyn Nets 49.4%
FT% Los Angeles Clippers 83.9%
3FG% Los Angeles Clippers 41.1%
+/− Utah Jazz +9.3

AwardsEdit

Yearly awardsEdit

2020–21 NBA awards
Award Recipient(s) Finalists[80]
Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets)[81] Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)[82] Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)[83] Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings)
Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)[84] Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
Derrick Rose (New York Knicks)
Most Improved Player Julius Randle (New York Knicks)[85] Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons)
Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets)
Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau (New York Knicks)[86] Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz)
Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)
Executive of the Year James Jones (Phoenix Suns)[87] Dennis Lindsey (Utah Jazz)
Sean Marks (Brooklyn Nets)
NBA Sportsmanship Award Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)[88] Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
Twyman–Stokes Teammate of the Year Award Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)[89] Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat)
Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
Community Assist Award Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)[90]
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award Carmelo Anthony (Portland Trail Blazers)[91] Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State Warriors)[92]

Players of the WeekEdit

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week.

Week Eastern Conference Western Conference Ref
December 22–27 Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers) (1/1) Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans) (1/1) [96]
December 28 – January 3 Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1) Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) (1/2) [97]
January 4–10 Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) (1/3) Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks) (1/3) [98]
January 11–17 Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) (1/1) Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) (1/3) [99]
January 18–24 Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1) Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets) (1/3) [100]
January 25–31 James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) (1/2) Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets) (2/3) [101]
February 1–7 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) (1/3) De'Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings) (1/2) [102]
February 8–14 Saddiq Bey (Detroit Pistons) (1/1) Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) (1/3) [103]
February 15–21 James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) (2/2) Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) (2/3) [104]
February 22–28 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) (2/3) Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) (2/3) [105]
March 15–21 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) (3/3) Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets) (3/3) [106]
March 22–28 Terry Rozier (Charlotte Hornets) (1/1) De'Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings) (2/2) [107]
March 29 – April 4 Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks) (1/1) Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks) (2/3) [108]
April 5–11 Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) (2/3) Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) (1/1) [109]
April 12–18 Julius Randle (New York Knicks) (1/1) Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) (2/2) [110]
April 19–25 Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards) (1/1) Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks) (3/3) [111]
April 26 – May 2 Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) (3/3) Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) (3/3) [112]
May 3–9 Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards) (1/1) Bojan Bogdanović (Utah Jazz) (1/1) [113]
May 10–16 Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) (1/1) Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) (3/3) [114]

Players of the MonthEdit

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference Ref
December/January Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1) Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets) (1/2) [115]
February James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) (1/2) Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) (1/1) [116]
March James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) (2/2) Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets) (2/2) [117]
April Julius Randle (New York Knicks) (1/1) Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) (1/2) [118]
May Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards) (1/1) Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) (2/2) [119]

Rookies of the MonthEdit

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference Ref
December/January LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets) (1/3) Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings) (1/2) [120]
February LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets) (2/3) Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings) (2/2) [121]
March LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets) (3/3) Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) (1/3) [122]
April Malachi Flynn (Toronto Raptors) (1/1) Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) (2/3) [123]
May R. J. Hampton (Orlando Magic) (1/1) Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) (3/3) [119]

Coaches of the MonthEdit

The following coaches were named the Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month.

Month Eastern Conference Western Conference Ref
December/January Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1) Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz) (1/2) [124]
February Steve Nash (Brooklyn Nets) (1/1) Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz) (2/2) [125]
March Nate McMillan (Atlanta Hawks) (1/1) Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns) (1/1) [126]
April Scott Brooks (Washington Wizards) (1/1) Michael Malone (Denver Nuggets) (1/1) [127]
May Tom Thibodeau (New York Knicks) (1/1) Terry Stotts (Portland Trail Blazers) (1/1) [119]

UniformsEdit

On July 21, 2020, the NBA and Nike announced that the "Statement Edition" uniforms would switch to the Air Jordan label.[128]

ArenasEdit

  • The Denver Nuggets' home arena, formerly known as the Pepsi Center, was renamed Ball Arena on October 22, 2020.[129]
  • The Phoenix Suns' home arena, formerly known as Talking Stick Resort Arena, was renamed Footprint Center (previously Phoenix Suns Arena) after the naming rights deal expired on November 6, 2020 to July 16, 2021.[130]

Temporary relocation of the Toronto Raptors to TampaEdit

As the NBA's plans for the 2020–21 season began to take shape, the Toronto Raptors were denied permission to play home games in Toronto as the Canadian federal government ruled that repeated cross-border trips by the Raptors and their opponents would be a major health risk due to the different levels of COVID-19 cases in the United States and Canada. This is similar to what happened to the Raptors' Major League Baseball counterpart, the Toronto Blue Jays, who were forced to play their 2020 home games in Buffalo.[131]

After looking at several U.S. cities,[132] the Raptors announced on November 20, 2020, that they would play their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida during the 2020–21 season.[3]

COVID-19 restrictionsEdit

By July 21, 2021, all teams except the Oklahoma City Thunder allowed spectators to attend home games.[133][134] Only seven teams have played all of their games with spectators since the start of the season.[135]

Team Home games with spectators allowed Limitations Source
Atlanta Some First five home games played for family and friends only. Capped at 8% capacity (roughly 1,300 spectators) beginning January 26, then to 20% (3,000 spectators) beginning March 13, and finally to roughly 46% (7,625 spectators) during the playoffs. [135][136][137][138]
Boston Some Capped at 12% capacity (2,142 fans) beginning March 20, then raised to 25% capacity (4,656 fans) beginning May 10. [139][140]
Brooklyn Some Capped at 10% beginning February 23. Negative COVID-19 PCR test within past 72 hours or vaccination completed no fewer than 14 days prior to the game required to enter. [141][142][143]
Charlotte Some Capped at 15% capacity (roughly 3,000 spectators) beginning March 13, then raised to 60% (roughly 12,000 fans) during the playoffs. [144]
Chicago Some Capped at 25% capacity (roughly 5,200 spectators) beginning May 7. [145]
Cleveland All Capped at 10% capacity (roughly 2,000 spectators). On February 4, 2021, the state of Ohio approved an increase to 14%. [135][146]
Dallas Some Capped at 7% capacity (roughly 1,500 spectators) beginning February 8. [135][147]
Denver Some Attendance on March 30 was reserved for frontline staff, health care providers and first responders; otherwise, 22% capacity (roughly 4,050 spectators) beginning April 4. [135][148]
Detroit Some Capped at 750 spectators beginning March 17. [135]
Golden State Some Capped at either 10% or 35% capacity beginning April 15, dependent on whether the team will mandate full vaccination or a recent negative test as a condition of entry. On April 2, the Warriors issued a statement acknowledging announcements by the state of California regarding indoor venues, but did not announce details on when they would begin to admit spectators (due to their schedule, the soonest they would be able to do so is April 23) [149][150]
Houston All Capped at 4,500. [135]
Indiana All Capped at 1,000. [135]
L.A. Clippers Some On April 2, the Clippers and Lakers announced that they intend to have spectators for their April 18 home game. Capped at either 10% or 35% capacity, dependent on whether the team will mandate full vaccination or a recent negative test as a condition of entry. [150][151][152]
L.A. Lakers
Memphis Some Limited courtside. Capacity raised to 11% (roughly 2,000 spectators) beginning February 4, then to 20% (roughly 3,600 spectators) beginning March 10. [135][153][154]
Miami All Initially capped at 2,000. In February 2021, capacity was increased to 3,000 for the final four home games before the All-Star break, and later to 4,000. In March 2021, the team announced plans to open seats closer to the court with less physical distancing for spectators who are fully-vaccinated. On April 8, the program became illegal after Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting businesses from requesting proof of vaccination as a condition of service, and was therefore discontinued. [135][155][156][157][158]
Milwaukee Some Began to admit spectators in mid-February in a phased process, scaling up to 10% capacity (1,800). Spectators in proximity to the court must test negative on a rapid COVID-19 test. Capacity raised to roughly 19% (3,300 spectators) in the second half of the season, then to 50% (roughly 9,000 spectators) during the playoffs. [135][159][160]
Minnesota Some Capped at an unknown capacity (presumed to be 3,000 spectators) beginning April 5. [161]
New Orleans All Capped at 750 spectators. Capacity increased to 16% (2,700 spectators) beginning February 24, then to roughly 22% (3,700 spectators) beginning March 11. [135][162][163]
New York Some Capped at 10% (roughly 2,000 spectators) beginning February 23. Negative COVID-19 PCR test within past 72 hours or vaccination completed no fewer than 14 days prior to the game required to enter. [164][141]
Orlando All Capped at 4,000 spectators. [135]
Philadelphia Some Capped at roughly 15% (3,100 spectators) beginning March 14, then raised to 50% (roughly 10,200 spectators) during the playoffs. [165][166][167]
Phoenix Some Capped at 1,500 spectators beginning February 7 (with the first game offering an allotment of free tickets for healthcare workers). On February 10, the Suns announced that they would expand their capacity to 3,000 beginning February 16.[168] [135][169]
Portland Some Capped at 10% capacity (roughly 1,900 spectators) beginning May 7. [133]
Sacramento Some Would be allowed to operate capped at 20% capacity beginning April 15, with all attendees required to provide proof of a recent negative test or that they are fully vaccinated. On April 2, the Kings issued a statement acknowledging announcements by the state of California regarding indoor venues, but did not announce details on when they would begin to admit spectators (due to their schedule, the soonest they would be able to do so is April 20) [152][170]
San Antonio Some The Spurs announced plans to begin hosting spectators on January 1, but announced on December 28, 2020 that this would be delayed indefinitely due to rising COVID-19 cases in the local market. In February 2021, the team began to place staff members in the crowd to test protocols, and announced on March 1 that it would begin hosting spectators beginning with its March 12 home game, capped at 3,200 spectators. [171][172][173][174]
Toronto Some Played their first few home games in Tampa Bay capped at 20% capacity. On January 9, 2021, Amalie Arena operator Vinik Sports Group announced that both the Raptors and the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning will play behind closed doors until at least February 5, due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the local market. On March 4, 2021, Vinik Sports Group announced that it will reopen the arena, capped at 3,800 spectators, beginning March 13. [175][135][176]
Utah All In November 2020, the team announced that it planned to admit 1,500 spectators. In February 2021, the team announced that it would raise its capacity to 3,902 by allowing spectators in the upper bowl. Capacity was raised to roughly 30% (5,600 spectators), beginning March 12, then to roughly 36% (6,700 spectators) beginning May 1, and finally to roughly 71% (13,000 spectators) during the playoffs. [135][177][178][179][180][181]
Washington Some Capped at 10% capacity (2,100 spectators) beginning April 21. [182]

On February 10, 2021, Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would allow large sports venues to host spectators at 10% of their capacity beginning February 23, 2021, affecting the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. All spectators must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event, and may also be required to submit to a rapid test if their PCR test was within more than 48 hours of the event.[183][143] In late-March, Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden announced that the testing requirement would be waived for spectators who are fully vaccinated (second dose received no fewer than 14 days prior to the event). [184]

On April 2, Governor of California Gavin Newsom announced that the state will begin allowing indoor event and sports venues to resume operations on April 15. In regions under the "Substantial" (red) tier, capacity is capped at 20%, and all attendees are required to provide proof of a recent negative test or that they are fully vaccinated. In the "Moderate" (orange) tier, capacity is capped at 10%, but can be raised to 35% if all attendees are required to provide proof of a recent negative test, or that they are fully vaccinated.[152][150]

MediaEdit

This is the fifth year of the current nine-year contracts with ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.[185]

To reduce on-site staff, ESPN and TNT will leverage the home team's rightsholder as a host broadcaster for some of their games. They will send a neutral "world feed" and other camera feeds to the network, which will then add commentary and surrounding coverage. ESPN and TNT are also deploying additional cameras specific to their broadcasts, and ESPN may provide a supplemental on-site presence if the local broadcaster does not have enough capacity to support the host model. ESPN stated that some (roughly half) of their games, particularly marquee games exclusive to ESPN and ABC, would be produced on-site with an existing hybrid model (where some producers and graphics operators work from ESPN's studios in Bristol, Connecticut). TNT also planned to begin doing some games on-site beginning with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.[186][187]

On December 26, 2020, it was announced that Fox Sports Networks had acquired rights to simulcast 36 Toronto Raptors games locally in the Tampa Bay area through at least the first half of the season. All of the games will be carried via the Fox Sports Go app, with selected games to also air on television via Fox Sports Sun (15) and Fox Sports Florida (2).[188]

On March 31, 2021, the Fox Sports Networks rebranded as Bally Sports, as part of an agreement between majority-owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and casino operator Bally's Corporation.[189][190][191]

Notable occurrencesEdit

  • On May 13, 2020, the NBA announced that Spalding's partnership with the league as official game ball supplier would end after this season. The league signed an agreement with Wilson for the latter to return as the NBA's official ball brand that would take effect in the 2021–22 season.[192] Spalding was the official supplier of game balls since the start of the 1983–84 season.[192]
  • On December 26, 2020, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards became the fourth player to record triple-doubles in the first two games of a season.[193] On December 29, he became the second player after Oscar Robertson to record triple-doubles in their first three games of a season.[194]
  • On December 27, 2020, the Dallas Mavericks recorded the largest ever halftime lead in a game, with a 50-point advantage over the Los Angeles Clippers (77–27).[195]
  • On December 27, 2020, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors became the third player ever to reach 2,500 career 3-pointers.[196]
  • On December 29, 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks set a new record for most three-point field goals made in a game with 29 against the Miami Heat, breaking the previous record of 27 set by the Houston Rockets on April 7, 2019.[197]
  • On December 30, 2020, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers became the first player to reach 1,000 consecutive regular season games with at least 10 points.[198]
  • On January 1, 2021, Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers passed Tim Duncan for 14th on the NBA all-time scoring list.[199]
  • On January 6, 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons took a knee for their first possessions in protest to the announcement that criminal charges would not be filed against police officers in the Jacob Blake shooting. The Bucks held the ball for seven seconds in reference to Blake's seven gunshots.[200] Various teams linked arms at center court in unison during the anthem in response to the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[201]
  • On January 7, 2021, Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat became the fastest player to reach 300 career three pointers. He made it in a span of only 95 games, surpassing both Luka Dončić's and Damian Lillard's previous record within 117 games.[202]
  • On January 8, 2021, the Toronto Raptors set a new franchise record for points in a single regular season game, scoring 144 points against the Sacramento Kings on the road.[203]
  • On January 9, 2021, LaMelo Ball posted a triple-double for the Charlotte Hornets against the Atlanta Hawks, becoming the youngest player ever to record a triple-double, at the age of 19 years and 140 days. He surpassed the previous record held by Markelle Fultz, who recorded a triple-double aged 19 years and 317 days.[204]
  • On January 16, 2021, James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets posted a triple-double against the Orlando Magic, becoming the seventh player to record a triple-double during his team debut.[205]
  • On January 20, 2021, Clint Capela of the Atlanta Hawks became the first player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2004 to record 25 points, 25 rebounds and 5 blocks in a single game, doing so against the Detroit Pistons.[206]
  • On January 20, 2021, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz became the fastest player to reach 600 three pointers. He did it in just 240 games, beating the previous record of 244 games set by Buddy Hield in 2019.[207]
  • On January 23, 2021, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors passed Reggie Miller for second place on the NBA all-time three point list.[208]
  • On January 29, 2021, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards passed Maurice Cheeks for 13th place on the NBA all-time assist list.[209]
  • On January 29, 2021, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks became the fastest player to reach 400 career three pointers doing it in 159 games, surpassing the previous total of 163 games set by Damian Lillard.[210]
  • On February 2, 2021, Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers passed Dominique Wilkins for 13th on the NBA all-time scoring list.[211]
  • On February 4, 2021, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers passed Wilt Chamberlain for third place on the NBA all-time field goal list.[212]
  • On February 6, 2021, Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets became the first center since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to record 50 points and 10 assists.[213]
  • On February 9, 2021, Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers passed Oscar Robertson for 12th on the NBA all-time scoring list.[214]
  • On February 19, 2021, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers became the third player in NBA history to reach 35,000 career points joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.[215]
  • On February 19, 2021, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, in a game against the Sacramento Kings became the first pair of teammates to each record a triple double on multiple occasions. The duo first accomplished this feat on December 10, 2019 in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.[216]
  • On February 20, 2021, Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns passed Oscar Robertson for sixth place on the NBA all-time assist list.[217]
  • On March 3, 2021, T. J. McConnell of the Indiana Pacers set several records. The first record was most steals in a half with 9. He also became the first player since Mookie Blaylock to record a triple double with steals and the sixth overall. He did this all off the bench which is also an NBA record.[218]
  • On March 3, 2021, Mason Plumlee and Dennis Smith Jr. of the Detroit Pistons became the 13th time a pair of teammates each had a triple double in a game.[219]
  • On March 11, 2021, Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat became the fastest player to record 400 career made three pointers, doing it in a span of 125 games, surpassing previous record set by Trae Young at 159 games earlier on January 29, 2021. Robinson made this feat by scoring only nine points, all in three pointers in a game won against the Orlando Magic. Currently, Robinson holds the record of being the fastest player ever to reach three three points made milestones — 200 in 69 games, 300 in 95 games, and now 400 in 125 games.[220]
  • On March 13, 2021, Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers passed Hakeem Olajuwon for 11th place on the NBA all-time scoring list.[221]
  • On March 27, 2021, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs became the third coach in NBA history to reach 1,300 career wins with a 120-104 win against the Chicago Bulls.[222]
  • On March 29, 2021, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards became the third player to record a 30–10–20 triple-double, joining Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. He also became the first player to record a triple double with 35 points and 20 assists, with his 35 points, 21 assists, and 14 rebounds.[223][224]
  • On April 10, 2021, the Oklahoma City Thunder had the youngest starting lineup in NBA history with an average age of 20 years, 8 months and 6 days.[225]
  • On April 12, 2021, Stephen Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain as the Golden State Warriors all-time scoring leader.[226]
  • On April 30, the Celtics overcame a 32 point deficit and beat the Spurs, which was the third biggest comeback ever. They were led by Jayson Tatum who had 60 points.
  • On May 1, 2021, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 152–95. The 57-point victory is the largest road win in NBA history.[227]
  • On May 1, 2021, Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat passed Luka Dončić as the fastest player to reach 500 3-pointers. He made this feat in 152 games, in a 124–107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 35 games earlier than Dončić's record of within 187 games.[228]
  • On May 3, 2021, Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers passed Elvin Hayes for 10th place on the NBA all-time scoring list.[229]
  • On May 3, 2021, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards clinched a fourth season averaging a triple-double. He also recorded the third ever 20-rebound, 20-assist game, as well as the third ever 10–20–20 game, with 14 points, 21 rebounds, and 24 assists against the Indiana Pacers. This was his second time reaching each feat.[230]
  • On May 8, 2021, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards tied Oscar Robertson for most career triple-doubles, with a career total of 181.[231] Two days later on May 10, Westbrook passed Robertson, with a career total of 182.[232]
  • On June 1, 2021, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers broke an NBA playoff record with 12 made three-pointers, including 2 threes to force overtime and double overtime as part of a 55-point performance during a 147–140 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the First Round.[233]
  • On June 8, 2021, Nikola Jokić became the first Denver Nuggets player, the first Serbian native, and the lowest-drafted player to be named NBA MVP. As well, Jokić and his fellow Serbian countryman Vasilije Micić (Anadolu Efes, Turkey) became the first-ever pair of players from the same country to be awarded both NBA MVP and EuroLeague MVP honors in the same season.[234][235] Jokić is the first center since Shaquille O'Neal to win NBA MVP.

See alsoEdit

  Sports portal

ReferencesEdit

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