The 2019-2020 NBA season will likely go down as no other in history of the league. The 74th season of the league began on October 22, 2019. The season went on as planned with one of the most exciting All-Star Games in recent memory taking place on February 16, 2020 with Team LeBron winning, 157-155. On March 11, the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz was postponed right before scheduled tipoff when it was confirmed that Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The whirlwind started, as the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans game was also postponed and then the entire league postponed play for the first time since 2011, during the NBA lockout.
Within a matter of a week, Donovan Mitchell, Christian Wood, as well as four players on the Nets, two on the Lakers and Marcus Smart of the Celtics all tested positive for COVID-19. Two months later and more than a month after the regular season was originally scheduled to conclude, the league announced negotiations with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved a set plan to resume the season on July 31, with all games being played at the complex.
At the time of the suspension, teams played approximately 65 games each. The plan had all teams within six games of a playoff spot, 22 in all, playing eight extra games to finalize the 16 playoff teams. When all was said and done, the Milwaukee Bucks posted the best regular season record at 56-17. The other seven Eastern Conference playoff teams were the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic. In the Western Conference, the Lakers had the top mark at 52-19 followed by the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Portland Trailblazers.
According to this site, statistically, 2019-2020 was an offensive explosion. James Harden led the league in scoring at 34.3 points per game, followed by Bradley Beal (30.5) and Damian Lillard (30.0). Andre Drummond led the league in rebounding at 15.2, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo at 13.6. LeBron James led the league with 10.6 assists per game, while Hassan Whiteside was the top shot blocker at 2.9 per game. Antetokounmpo earned his second straight NBA MVP award, becoming the 15th player in league history to have won the award multiple times.
In the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Bucks, Heat, Celtics and Raptors easily advanced past the first round, losing only one of 17 games. In the Western Conference first round, the Lakers and Clippers had a relatively easy time disposing the Trailblazers and the Mavericks. The Rockets and Nuggets narrowly escaped, winning 4-3 over the Thunder and Jazz, respectively. The Lakers continued their trek through the postseason, taking care of the Rockets and Nuggets in five games each to advance to the NBA Finals. Miami shocked Milwaukee in round two and defeated Boston, 4-2 to advance in the Eastern Conference.
In the NBA Finals, the Lakers got off to a fast start, winning Game One convincingly, 116-98. A 10-point victory a in Game Two put the Lakers in great position heading to Miami for Game Three. Jimmy Butler had something to say about that, however, scoring 40 to go along with 13 assists and 11 rebounds to cut the Lakers lead to 2-1. After a five-point lead in Game Four, the Lakers on the verge of winning the NBA Championship for the 17th time, which would tie the Celtics for most all-time.