At long last, the return of the NBA is upon us.
The sport at the forefront of the coronavirus shutdown in the US was scheduled to return on July 30, with 22 of the league's 30 teams gathered at Disney World in Orlando, Florida for an eight-game finish to the regular season. Six teams would be sent home at the conclusion of the eight tuneup "seeding" games, leaving the usual 16 teams in the NBA's postseason.
There was no shortage of compelling story lines -- both on and off the court. From the fan-less bubble venues to social activism among players, as well as tantalizing matchups featuring both established and budding superstars alike, there's plenty to watch for.
Here's a look at the complete national TV schedule and the games we're especially looking forward to checking out.
Thursday, July 30
Utah Jazz-New Orleans Pelicans: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Los Angeles Clippers-Los Angeles Lakers: 9 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: The first nationally televised game spotlights rookie sensation Zion Williamson and the up-and-coming Pelicans, who have only a slim chance of nabbing the eighth seed. They'll take on the Jazz, the team whose coronavirus cases became the flashpoint for the suspension.
The all-LA nightcap is a rematch from an opening night that feels like a lifetime ago, and looks like a probable preview of the Western Conference Finals.
Friday, July 31
Memphis Grizzlies-Portland Trail Blazers: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks: 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Houston Rockets-Dallas Mavericks: 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: The Bucks have locked up the top seed while the Celtics are likely to finish fourth, but this one will be an interesting test for two playoff-bound teams. Rockets-Mavs has all the makings of a Western Conference shootout between two teams fighting for playoff seeding.
Saturday, August 1
Miami Heat-Denver Nuggets: 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder: 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
New Orleans Pelicans-Los Angeles Clippers: 6 p.m. ET on ESPN
Los Angeles Lakers-Toronto Raptors: 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: The Heat were one of the league's most unusual and intriguing teams before the shutdown, and should be fun to watch against a retooled Denver lineup now featuring 7'2" "small forward" Bol Bol. Williamson and the Pelicans get a crack at Kawhi Leonard and the tough Clippers defense, while Lakers-Raptors pits last year's champions against the favorite to win it all this season.
Sunday, August 2
Portland Trail Blazers-Boston Celtics: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Sacramento Kings-Orlando Magic: 6:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Milwaukee Bucks-Houston Rockets: 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: This isn't the juiciest slate on the restart calendar, but Bucks-Rockets could be an entertaining way to end the weekend.
Monday, August 3
Toronto Raptors-Miami Heat: 1:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Denver Nuggets-Oklahoma City Thunder: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Memphis Grizzlies-New Orleans Pelicans: 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Los Angeles Lakers-Utah Jazz: 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: How good are the Heat really? Their game against the Raptors will be an interesting test. The Grizzlies-Pelicans contest should be a fun clash of Rookie of the Year hopefuls in Williamson and Ja Morant. The Grizz entered play with the inside track on the No. 8 seed.
Tuesday, August 4
Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks: 1:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Phoenix Suns-LA Clippers: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Boston Celtics-Miami Heat: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Houston Rockets-Portland Trail Blazers: 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: The Nets will be playing for the seventh or eighth seed, but with their roster decimated by injuries and opt-outs, they'll more than have their work cut out against the mighty Bucks. This could be a comically lopsided blowout, or David keeping it surprisingly close against Goliath. Either scenario would be fun.
Wednesday, August 5
Philadelphia 76ers-Washington Wizards: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Oklahoma City Thunder-Los Angeles Lakers: 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics: 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: At the outset of the restart, the Thunder had a chance of nabbing any seed from No. 3 all the way down to No. 7. Their game against the Lakers will be a good gauge of just how dangerous they really are.
Thursday, August 6
New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento Kings: 1:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Miami Heat-Milwaukee Bucks: 4:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets: 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: You can't go wrong with any of the contests in this quad-header. Take the over in Pelicans-Kings.
Friday, August 7
Oklahoma City Thunder-Memphis Grizzlies: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Orlando Magic-Philadelphia 76ers: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors: 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: During the suspension, Ben Simmons reportedly became a power forward and met with a sports psychologist about his famous lack of a jump shot. You'll want to tune in to see if either of those things are true. Plus, the Magic get back stud Jonathan Isaac -- who was thought to be lost for the remainder of the regular season until the unexpected suspension afforded his injured knee time to mend.
The Celtics meanwhile get another shot at a potential Eastern Conference playoff opponent, in the Raptors.
Saturday, August 8
Los Angeles Clippers-Portland Trail Blazers: 1:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Utah Jazz-Denver Nuggets: 3:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Los Angeles Lakers-Indiana Pacers: 6:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Milwaukee Bucks-Dallas Mavericks: 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: Victor Oladipo might be back for the Pacers, but his potential return is somewhat offset by the loss Domantas Sabonis to a foot injury. Still, Oladipo had finally realized his immense potential in the couple seasons before a devastating knee injury. If he's back, he's well worth watching against LeBron and AD.
Bucks-Mavs could make for an entertaining interconference nightcap. If anyone has a trick or two to confound the unstoppable Bucks, it's Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
Sunday, August 9
San Antonio Spurs-New Orleans Pelicans: 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC
Philadelphia 76ers-Portland Trail Blazers: 6:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Brooklyn Nets-Los Angeles Clippers: 9:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Analysis: Zionmania continues with a Sunday matinee against the Spurs, but there's not a ton at stake in this triple-header.
Monday, August 10
Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz: 3:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Toronto Raptors-Milwaukee: Bucks 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Lakers: 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: The Mavericks and Jazz could be fighting for the fifth seed, if the Mavs play well and Utah stumbles.
The Raptors and Bucks won't be playing for seeding, but their must-see tilt could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tuesday, August 11
Houston Rockets-San Antonio Spurs: 2:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Boston Celtics-Memphis Grizzlies: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento Kings: 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
Analysis: Barring a minor miracle, this could be our last look at Williamson until next season.
Wednesday, August 12
Indiana Pacers-Houston Rockets: 4:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers: 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers-Denver Nuggets: 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Analysis: The Sixers are going to the playoffs no matter what, but after a disappointing regular season they'd feel a lot better about it with a strong restart. A good showing against the Raptors would be a nice confidence springboard.