NBA Schedule 2020: Jazz vs. Pelicans Start Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Over four months on since the NBA suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic, basketball is finally back.

The NBA makes its long-awaited return on Thursday evening when the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Utah Jazz in the first game to be played in the bubble in Orlando, Florida.

A degree of rustiness may be expected after four months off, but the Pelicans can't afford to ease themselves back into the season as they are one of the 22 teams invited to ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando currently outside the playoff picture.

Along with the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans trails the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently hold the last playoff berth in the Western Conference, by 3.5 games.

However, because of the rules the NBA has introduced for the remainder of the regular season, if the ninth-placed team in a conference finishes within four games of the eighth-best team, the two teams will face off in a play-in tournament. For example, should the Pelicans finish 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies, they will play Memphis before the playoffs start.

To earn a spot in the postseason, the Pelicans would have to defeat the Grizzlies in two consecutive games, while Memphis would have to beat New Orleans once to secure a playoff berth.

New Orleans' bid to hit the ground running inside the bubble, however, may have to start without Zion Williamson. On Wednesday, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry confirmed the first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft will be a game-time decision after spending 12 days away from the team due a family medical emergency and subsequently clearing a four-day quarantine upon returning to the bubble.

"As a coach you want him out there as much as you can possibly have him out there," Gentry said. "We have guys that are better equipped to make those decisions than I am from a health standpoint and a minutes played standpoint.

"It'll be collectively something that's done by sitting down and talking about it and figuring it out if he does end up playing."

The Jazz, meanwhile, are in a safer position as they return to action for the first time since their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder became the first to be suspended because of the COVID-19 outbreak in March after center Rudy Gobert tested positive.

Utah is currently fourth in the Western Conference 41-23, two games behind the Denver Nuggets and a further game behind the second-placed Los Angeles Clippers.

The first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus, Gobert faced plenty of criticism for the carefree attitude he displayed before his diagnosis—a clip of him wiping his hands all over microphones during a press conference went viral after he tested positive. The criticism only increased after it emerged Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell had tested positive.

The duo appears to have patched up their difference and Gobert is optimistic that the four-month hiatus has made the Jazz even more close-knit than they already were.

"People were seeing this as something that could destroy the group," he told The Washington Post earlier this week. "I see it as something that could make the group even stronger. If you're able to come back from that, we won't be worried about a team beating us or a bad defensive quarter. It gives perspective."

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Thursday.

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives with the ball during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Smoothie King Center on March 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jonathan Bachman/Getty

When is Jazz vs Pelicans?

The Jazz and the Pelicans face each other in the first NBA game post-lockdown on July 30.

Tip off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Which TV channel is Jazz vs Pelicans on?

The first NBA game in four months will be broadcast live on TNT at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Jazz vs Pelicans live stream

A live stream will be available via TNT's digital platforms as well as via fuboTV, Sling, Hulu, YouTubeTV and AT&T Now.

At the moment, fuboTV, Hulu and YouTubeTV offer free trial options. All the seeding games are also available to stream via NBA League Pass, subject to local market restrictions.

Jazz vs Pelicans odds

The Pelicans are 2.5-point favorite and are 9/10 and 23/25 to cover the spread with DraftKings and FanDuel respectively, while the Jazz are 6/5 underdogs.

The over/under bar for total points scored is set at 216.