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NBA Finals schedule scenarios revealed after Lakers win

Lakers, NBA Finals, Celtics, Heat

The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals. After the Lakers clinched the Western Conference title, the two possible Finals schedules have been released.

One scenario involves the Celtics winning Game 6 of the East Finals Sunday night, to extend that series to a Game 7. The other scenario involves the Heat winning Game 6 and creating an NBA Finals matchup with the Lakers.

You will notice an obvious pattern in either scenario: The rotation of NBA Finals games will be Tuesday-Friday-Sunday. Many will wonder why the NBA — playing its championship series in October, an entirely new scenario created by the coronavirus pandemic — is playing Sunday games up against NFL Sunday Night Football.

The answer to that is simpler than many might think: Sunday Night Football is televised by NBC. The Finals are on ABC in partnership with ESPN. ABC and ESPN both televise Saturday night college football, while ESPN has Monday Night Football. ABC would therefore not program the NBA Finals up against Saturday night college football or NFL Monday Night Football.

ABC wants to have the NBA Finals on Sundays (versus NBC) and Tuesdays (unopposed by football, and up against Major League Baseball’s playoffs).

The Sunday NBA Finals slot is not rooted in a desire to compete with the NFL; it is a product of wanting to avoid a conflict with Saturday and Monday sports programming.

There is one other especially noteworthy aspect of this NBA Finals schedule layout: With the 2021 NBA season likely to start no earlier than January, the eight-month scope of a normal season (six months for the regular season, two months for the playoffs) means that the 2021 NBA Finals might occur at or near this same point on the calendar next year.

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