After a short offseason lasting a little over two months due after the COVID-19 shutdown delayed the 2019-20 campaign, the NBA is set to begin the 2020-21 season this week. The league is making the risky choice to play this year’s schedule at team arenas rather than in a bubble environment, which will surely result in some postponements when athletes contract the virus. As the Canadian government will not allow the Toronto Raptors to play at home due to concerns about cross-border travel between Canada and the United States while spread in the US remains uncontrolled, the Raps will be playing home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL franchise. This will be another significant challenge for Nick Nurse‘s squad, but the 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year is more than capable of leading the team to its eighth consecutive postseason appearance.
The schedule for first half of the season has been released, with games to take place between December 22 and March 4. The second half will begin on March 11 after making up potential COVID-19 postponements. Tuesday’s Opening Night features a slate of games starting at 7:00 PM ET.
The Raptors will open the season on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans at 7:30 PM ET in Tampa. The 2020-21 Raptors will feature some new faces, but six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry and 2019-20 All-Star Pascal Siakam remain and will lead the team on its quest for a second NBA championship.