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Tilman Fertitta: No Asterisk Necessary for 2020 NBA Champion

The completion of the 2019-20 season will be unlike any in NBA history, with 22 teams slated to head down to Orlando for the season's resumption on July 31. But despite the unorthodox road ahead, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta says the 2020 champion will be completely legitimate. Whoever wins the title won't have any asterisk next to their name in the record books. 

"Whoever wins this championship there is no asterisk," Fertitta told FOX 26 Houston's Mark Berman. "I don’t care if it’s us or Milwaukee or one of the LA teams. Why would it be an asterisk?"

The season's resumption will bring a slate of new wrinkles to the NBA, including no home-court advantage and a potential play-in game for the No. 8 seed. Yet despite the peculiar location, the majority of the playoffs will follow a traditional format. The NBA will still hold a quartet of seven-game series, ensuring the champion must win the usual 16 games to claim the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Fertitta cited the normal playoff format as a key reason not to consider an asterisk. 

The Rockets will enter the season's resumption No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24, and the final eight games of the regular season could vastly impact their playoff seeding. Houston is currently tied with Oklahoma City at 40–24, and it sits one game back of Utah. James Harden and Co. could vault the Nuggets for the No. 3 spot–though they are 2.5 games back of Denver–and Dallas is within earshot of jumping up from the No. 7 seed. Houston currently sits 1.5 games ahead of the Mavericks. 

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2020 will mark the Rockets' eighth straight playoff appearance since acquiring Harden in October 2012. They have not reached the Finals since 1995.