Coronavirus: Chris Paul, Trae Young headline NBA's televised HORSE game

By Sports Desk April 09, 2020

The NBA may be on hold and the start of the WNBA delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but basketball fans will have a new game to watch in April.

An announcement by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on Thursday confirmed a game of HORSE involving eight players and legends from the two leagues will begin on April 12 and be televised.

The challenge, which will be headlined by 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce complete the line-up.

Each of the contestants will take part in isolation from their home courts.

Young and Billups will battle for the right to face the victor of a meeting between Catchings and Conley for a place in the semi-finals. LaVine must take on Pierce, with Paul up against Quigley on the other side of the draw.

The semi-finals and the championship game will take place on April 16.

State Farm is sponsoring the competition and will donate over $200,000 on behalf of the competitors.

Related items

  • Orlando Bucks? NBA teams lose out on coveted home court with Disney restart plan Orlando Bucks? NBA teams lose out on coveted home court with Disney restart plan

    A trip to Orlando, Florida is overwhelmingly a more popular travel destination than Milwaukee, Wisconsin for most American families.

    NBA teams share that sentiment.

    The NBA has approved its return-to-play plan, which will send 22 teams to the Walt Disney Resort near Orlando. All the games and practices will take place at the Disney complex after the NBA's Board of Governors approved proposals for a restart from the coronavirus-enforced break.

    The teams invited to Florida are the 16 that held playoff spots when the season was halted on March 11, plus the six teams within six games of eighth place in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

    While having all the games at one location terminates travel and should cut down on some fatigue, it will provide a new challenge – likely playing games in empty gyms without the noise of the crowd.

    A lack of crowd noise may be the biggest obstacle for the players, challenging their mettle. They will have to take part in crucial games and within these games, face critical possessions without getting any adrenaline rush from either the roar of the fans they would experience at their home arena or the chorus of boos from a hostile crowd when they are on the road.

    For the teams, they are now pretty much all on equal footing. Those that had been dominating for the right to earn home-court advantage for the playoffs no longer have such an advantage.

    When the season went on pause nearly three months ago, the Milwaukee Bucks owned the NBA's best record at 53-12. The Bucks are obviously an excellent team, boasting the league's highest-scoring offense behind reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but some of their success stems from their ability to easily dispatch of foes when they visited Milwaukee.

    The Bucks have only lost two of their 30 games at Fiserv Forum since the calendar flipped to November. And both of those defeats came at the hands of West clubs – the Dallas Mavericks on December 16 and Denver Nuggets on January 31. They have gone 18-1 in Milwaukee against the East this season with the lone blemish coming in overtime to the Miami Heat in their home opener on October 26.

    By continuing to defend home court against East teams, the Bucks appeared to have a relatively clear path to reach the NBA Finals, but now their opponents will no longer be making that dreaded trip to Milwaukee. 

    Miami, meanwhile, is a hotter destination than Milwaukee – both literally and figuratively – and the Heat climbed to the top of the Southeast Division behind the strength of a 27-5 record in Miami – the third-best home record in the NBA.

    The Heat, however, no longer will have the luxury of welcoming visitors to South Beach and its nightlife, instead playing the rest of their games in the more family-friendly environment provided by Mickey Mouse.

    Only one team has compiled a better home record than the Bucks and Heat this season, and that has been perhaps one of the most perplexing teams of all time.

    The Philadelphia 76ers have gone 29-2 at home, but if the playoffs started today they would not be hosting a first-round series. Thanks to an inability to win on the road where they have gone 10-24, the Sixers are in sixth place in the East. 

    Philly has a .935 winning percentage at home and a .294 winning percentage on the road. That decrease of .641 in winning percentage from home to road is the largest difference since the NBA expanded to 14 teams in 1968-69. 

    Seeing as there has been no rational explanation as to how a team can play so well at home and so poorly on the road, it is anyone's guess how the Sixers will fare in Orlando.

    While teams will be missing out on having games at their own arenas and players will no longer have the creature comforts that come with home games, a handful of teams that are heading to Orlando had slightly better records on the road than at home before the season paused.

    Playing these games on neutral courts, likely without fans, in Orlando does not exactly correlate to playing road games in intense visiting arenas in front of raucous playoff crowds, but the Dallas Mavericks (plus-.077 winning percentage from road to home games), Los Angeles Lakers (plus-.071), New Orleans Pelicans (plus-.063), Phoenix Suns (plus-.062) and Oklahoma City Thunder (plus-.039) all have higher winning percentages on the road than at home.

    Of those five teams, only the Mavericks, Lakers and Thunder posted winning records both on the road and at home. 

    When the season went on pause, the only teams with road winning percentages over .700 were perhaps the three favourites to win the title – the Lakers (.813 road winning percentage), the Bucks (.735) and defending champions the Toronto Raptors (.719). 

    No big surprise, but the ability to win on the road and perform under pressure in adverse conditions bodes well for a team's championship aspirations. 

    While these will not be road games, they will certainly be adverse conditions. Likely the most obscure these players have ever experienced.

  • NBA approves 22-team season restart NBA approves 22-team season restart

    The NBA has confirmed plans for 22 teams to restart the 2019-20 season, with a tentative resumption date of July 31.

    Teams are set to stay at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida and have all their games and practices on the campus after the NBA's Board of Governors approved proposals for a restart from the coronavirus-enforced break.

    The 22 teams due to head to Florida are the 16 teams that occupied the playoff berths when the season was halted in March, along with the six teams that are within six games of the eighth and final seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

    It means the season is over for the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors.

    Each of the remaining 22 teams are set to play eight games to determine the 16 that will advance to the playoffs.

    Under the proposals, the NBA Finals would end no later than October 12, three days before the 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place, and two months before the 2020-21 campaign begins.

    The league was suspended in March after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

    In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: "The board's approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season.

    "While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalised with public health officials and medical experts. 

    "We also recognise that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways."

  • Bulls legend Rodman makes comical gaffe in video to SPAL striker Petagna Bulls legend Rodman makes comical gaffe in video to SPAL striker Petagna

    Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman seemingly made a comical gaffe in a personalised video for SPAL striker Andrea Petagna.

    The Napoli-bound forward reportedly paid around $600 to receive a message from Rodman, who won three straight NBA titles with the Bulls playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen between 1996 and 1998.

    Rodman's success with one of the world's most famous sporting dynasties was the focus of the recent ESPN and Netflix docuseries 'The Last Dance', which may have been the prompt for Petagna to request a video.

    So, there might have been a bit of a surprise when he was addressed as "honey" and told he may one day come up against Rodman's daughter Trinity on the pitch.

    "Andrea, isn't it amazing?" Rodman said in the clip, which Petagna posted on Instagram alongside the caption 'I hope to meet you soon [Trinity Rodman], Keep going'.

    "Dennis Rodman is calling you. Andrea, 'The Bulldozer', what does that mean? It means that you score a lot. 

    "But I've got something for you right now, Andrea. I got a daughter named Trinity Rodman, she's the number one soccer player in the world right now.

    "Come on, man. Look her up! One of these days you're going to face her and one of these days you're going to text me back and say, 'Dennis you know what? You're right, she's good, just like me. She's a bulldozer, but she's a Rodman'.

    "Either way, honey, your friends really love you. Respect, respect, respect. Keep doing what you're doing."

    Petagna later added to his Instagram story to show he had received a "Hey bro!!" from Rodman, who also won two NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990.

    One-cap Italy international Petagna agreed to join Napoli in January but is staying with SPAL until the end of the season. The 24-year-old has 11 goals in 25 Serie A appearances this term.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.