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Injuries are not an excuse for the Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets’ excuses began almost immediately and were entirely valid.

Kyrie Irving sprained his ankle and James Harden was playing on a bad hamstring, leaving Kevin Durant as the lone healthy member of the Nets’ “Big Three.”

“I’m not trying to be a hero out there,” Durant said after his dazzling 49-point Game 5 performance. “I know I can’t win a ballgame by myself.”

But to beat the Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and avoid elimination, Durant needed to prove himself wrong and win entirely on his own. His failure to do so unmasked the one fatal flaw of an NBA superteam: injuries happen, and they are not an excuse for a loss.

Injuries are a part of sports. They are a challenge to overcome, not a narrative to fall back on. To say that a healthy Nets team would have beaten the Bucks is akin to saying that a higher-scoring Nets team would have beaten the Bucks. Sure, it’s almost certainly true. But what’s your point?

Like it or not, contrary to Durant’s opinion, basketball is all about winning on your own. Modern day greats like LeBron James and, yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo were their own superteams. Players so transcendent that the ability of their teammates was completely irrelevant.

The irony is that no recent superteam has proven capable of reaching that level of individual dominance, and Durant was involved both times. Stephen Curry could not will the Warriors to a 2019 Finals win with Durant and Klay Thompson sidelined. And now, even Durant’s 48 points in Game 7 were not enough to beat the well-rounded Bucks.

Make no mistake: Durant was nothing short of incredible during this series and was literally a big toe away from changing the outcome of the series. But to build long-term success, the Brooklyn Nets will need to find a better strategy than haphazardly stringing together All-Stars and hoping they are healthy for the playoffs.

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs (8) Orlando Magic: Series Preview

Milwaukee Bucks opportunity to sharpen their play

The Milwaukee Bucks finish the NBA’s 2019-2020 season with the best record overall. In a normal world, this also means locking up home-court for the entire length of their playoff run.

However, in the NBA Bubble, they’ll have more opportunities to display their fans and theatrics on virtual boards. Well, that is if more than four games are needed to oust the Orlando Magic.

Recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo voiced his frustrations with the Bucks seeding games. The MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate also shows frustration and took it out on Washington’s Mo Wagner. Giannis was suspended for one game in which he missed the Bucks final seeding game.

If you’re a Bucks fan this series is a golden opportunity for sharpening the iron further. Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton both arrived at the bubble late due to COVID-19 positive test results.

Furthermore, the Bucks are facing a depleted Orlando team. Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba are out of the bubble for the season. The Bucks are proficient in defending the paint and the Magic ranked 25th in three-point shooting.

Can Orlando conjure some magic and the upset?

As mentioned the Magic have lost arguably their two longest defenders in Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac. The Magic usually take good care of the ball ranking 4th in turnovers per game versus the rest of the league. While that sounds nice the “home team” also has trouble scoring.

The Bucks shouldn’t have much of an offensive scare to worry about as Orlando ranks 24th in scoring overall only pouring in 107.3 points per game. If you’re on team Mickey, this is a concern going up against the league’s best defensive rated team.

Orlando’s bright spot will have to be Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz. Fultz joined Orlando late in the bubble but has played in all eight seeding games. He’s averaging 12.3 points per game, 4.4 assists per game, and shooting 40 percent from the field in the bubble only.

Besides Fultz, Gordon will have to come alive on both ends of the floor. Without Bamba and Isaac, the main primary front-court offense and defense will have to be Gordon. While nobody can stop The Greek Freak, Gordon’s responsibility will be to slow him down. Another injury concern for Orlando as Gordon is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury.

Bucks shouldn’t be concerned of an upset

The final verdict is that Milwaukee will have the talent and a fully-loaded roster to send home the “hosting” city’s beloved Orlando Magic. The lack of Orlando’s three-point shooting combined with the Bucks ability to defend the paint is a recipe for Milwaukee to sweep.

On the other hand, if Giannis’ frustrations are right. The Magic could play the first time with a little bit of heart and string out a close win in Game 1. However, this would be the last win for Orlando and a Bucks gentleman’s sweep.

All signs points more to a Milwaukee Bucks sweep. Bring out the brooms!


(1) Bucks vs (8) Magic East First Round Schedule

Game 1ORL @ MILTNT8/18/20 | 1:30 PM EST
Game 2ORL @ MILESPN8/20/20 | 6:00 PM EST
Game 3MIL @ ORLTNT8/22/20 | 1:00 PM EST
Game 4MIL @ ORLNBA TV8/24/20 | 1:30 PM EST
Game 5ORL @ MIL*TBD If Needed
Game 6MIL @ ORL*TBD If Needed
Game 7ORL @ MIL*TBD If Needed

Check out our 2020 NBA Playoff Bracket here!

NBA teams as Disney rides and attractions

The NBA is going to Disney Wooooorld!

So, I decided to describe NBA teams as Disney World rides/attractions, here’s what I’ve got so far:

New York Knicks – Tower of Terror

Yeah, I know the Knicks are not playing in Orlando. I also know that being a Knicks fan is basically like living in the Twilight Zone – frozen in time, abandoned, and constantly seeing the darkest corners of your imagination come to life.

Oklahoma Thunder – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Who said trading away Russell Westbrook would leave the Thunder stuck in a rebuild? This team is still a gold mine and can become a real big obstacle on the rickety track to NBA Finals. The Clutch Conductor (CP3) and the Locomotive driver (SGA) have led OKC to 16 games over .500 with a chance to get to the 4th seed in the WC.

Milwaukee Bucks – Soarin’

The Bucks are soarin’ high, sitting comfortably at 6.5 games ahead of the Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to world wonder and potential back-to-back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo

LA Lakers – Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster

This was one was easy. Hollywood. Iconic, Legendary players in LeBron & AD. LA traffic. A chance to see J.R. Smith topless stumblin’ around chugging Hennessy at a championship parade.

Toronto Raptors – DINOSAUR

Well, what else did you expect here? Will Toronto be able to travel back in time, kidnap Kawhi Leonard and bring him back to the present as a Raptor for their repeat bid? No. Their top 7 players may have been in/out of the rotation with injuries, but they are healthy now and ready to defend their title against anything – 21 NBA teams, fiery meteors, COVID-19.

Got any suggestions for NBA teams as Disney rides and attractions?

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