After an entertaining Day 1 of scrimmages, eight teams take the floor once again for their first scrimmage games in Thursday's action.
This is the first time players will be scrimmaging against their peers from another team. So, to get you up-to-date with the latest, here's a quick primer with the top storyline for each squad.
Spurs vs. Bucks - 3 PM ET
Milwaukee Bucks: Prior to the season's suspension, the Bucks became the fastest team in NBA history to lock up a playoff spot. Given their comfortable lead for the top spot in the East, they will be looking to use these scrimmages and seeding games as much-needed reps for the reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and every other key member of their rotation.
San Antonio Spurs: Fighting with five other teams for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, the Spurs could miss the NBA postseason for the first time since 1998. The franchise's 22-year playoff streak, tied for the longest-ever in NBA history, is on the line in this season restart. FiveThirtyEight gives them less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs, and missing LaMarcus Aldridge only makes matters worse.
Trail Blazers vs. Pacers - 3:30 PM ET
Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers are one of few teams among the 22 participating that have benefited with the NBA's hiatus. Welcoming back big men Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins from injuries, the Damian Lillard-led squad that is currently 9th becomes a serious contender for the West's eighth spot. The Blazers will need to fire from the jump, given they have the fifth toughest schedule in the season's restart.
Indiana Pacers: For the Pacers, it's all about the seeding and Victor Oladipo. They have already locked up their playoff spot but these eight seeding games are essential in determining their final standing, with the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers also fighting for a top-four finish. Oladipo is expected to play in the scrimmages, although it remains unclear if he will suit up once the seeding games begin.
Coach McMillan on if he expects Vic to play in our first scrimmage: "I do. He's going through the practices and he's looking good. Our first scrimmage is Thursday and we'll see how our guys feel and get them minutes accordingly."- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) July 20, 2020
Mavericks vs. Lakers - 7 PM ET
Dallas Mavericks: Can Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis help the Mavericks make a deep playoff run? Only time will tell, but the well-coached, talented, young roster has the 15th toughest schedule in the restart and could possibly have it in their hands to decide their matchup when the postseason arrives.
Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers come into this bubble with an eye on a championship but how will they fare while missing two key rotation players in Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo? Prior to the suspension, LeBron James was making a run for the MVP and the Lakers had gained tremendous momentum after beating the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks in a matter of a few days. Can they recapture that mojo?
Suns vs. Jazz - 8 PM ET
Phoenix Suns: The Suns have the second-worst record among the 22 bubble teams and the seventh toughest schedule, while fighting alongside five other teams for one playoff spot. Just like the Spurs, FiveThirtyEight gives the Suns less than 1% chance of making the playoffs.
Utah Jazz: Can the Jazz make a deep playoff run despite missing their second-leading scorer in Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) for the remainder of the season? They'll face a tough fight for homecourt advantage in the postseason, with the No. 3 seed and No. 7 seed in the West separated by just 4.0 games.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.