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2019-2020 NBA BUBBLE STANDINGS

2019 – 2020 NBA Bubble Standings

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(2) Toronto Raptors vs (7) Brooklyn Nets: Series Preview

We the North are defending champs

While the NBA is playing during an unusual time of year, it seems that most people have forgotten that the Toronto Raptors are the defending champions.

Of course, this is due to the fact that their star player last season, Kawhi Leonard is now a Los Angele Clipper. Toronto finished second place in the East with a 53-19 record.

Their bubble play ended with a four-game win streak. Some of their bubble wins happened against the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks( without Giannis Antetokounmpo).

Despite losing Leonard, the Raptors were able to finish 2nd in defensive rating overall in the league. This clearly shows that no drop off of defense for the defending champs has kept them among the top-seeded teams in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn will have to go hard

On the other hand, the Brooklyn Nets are coming into the NBA Bubble as one of the most depleted teams. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan are three of Brooklyn’s top players who are not in Orlando.

Furthermore, the expectation for Brooklyn was to just hold on enough to the 7th seed and they did just that. Posting a 5-3 record in the bubble is more than impressive for a group of young hopeful players.

Caris LeVert played in six games for the Nets in their seeding games. He averaged 25 points per game, 6.7 assists per game, and shot 48 percent from the field.

Some of the Nets other young players that will show some fight are Jarrett Allen, Garrett Temple, and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. Brooklyn tried to add veteran leadership coming into the bubble by adding Jamal Crawford. However, Crawford suffered a hamstring injury in the Nets’ first seeding game. No update on his immediate availability has been given.

Back to the north for Brooklyn

While Brooklyn’s young and motivated team has shown signs not to give up easily, there is no answer for Pascal Siakam. I’m a fan of experience in these early first-round match ups and the defending champions have appeared as good as they were in the regular season.

Kyle Lowry is playing arguable some of the best basketball this year averaging 19.4 points per game, rebounds per game, and 7.5 assists per game. All career-highs this year alone.

The Nets could make this series a little more hard-fought-for Toronto but the deal gets closed in four games still. my series prediction? Bring out the brooms and bet on the Toronto Raptors in 4 games.


(2) Raptors vs (7) Nets East First Round Schedule

Game 1BKN @ TORESPN8/17/20 | 4:00 PM EST
Game 2BKN @ TORNBA TV8/19/20 |1:30 PM EST
Game 3TOR @ BKNNBA TV8/21/20 | 1:30 PM EST
Game 4TOR @ BKNTNT8/23/20 | 6:30 PM EST
Game 5*TBD If Needed
Game 6*TBD If Needed
Game 7*TBD If Needed


Click here to see other 2020 NBA Playoffs Series Previews

(2) Los Angeles Clippers vs (7) Dallas Mavericks: Series Preview

Clippers have early challenge against a rising star

The Los Angeles Clippers enter the postseason as one the deepest teams in the NBA and possible favorites to emerge from the West. Montrezel Harrell and Lou Williams will need to get back up to speed on the fly. Both players have missed multiple games in the bubble.

Doc Rivers’s primary goal will be implementing a variety of defensive schemes to slow down the Dallas Mavericks’ upcoming star, Luka Doncic. Clippers’ big man Ivica Zubac’s development inside is key as the Mavericks are ranked 28th in rebounding. Second-chance points and setting up on the defensive end will be key for controlling the pace.

Former Euro-league MVP Luka Doncic looks to make his first playoff appearance. It will be interesting to see if the Clippers use perimeter traps to get the ball out of his hands or play man.

His consistency to find the open man or make the winning basketball play will make it tough for any defense to contain.

Undoubtedly, Kristaps Porzingis would shoulder more offensive responsibility in the event Doncic has a bad game. He’s been rejuvenated since joining the Mavericks. Porzingis is quietly averaging close to 30 and 10 shooting 45% from the field in the bubble

Prediction

The Mavericks will look to test its league-leading offense against the Clippers fifth-ranked defense. The problem with that scenario is that the Clippers are ranked a slot behind them offensively.

I wouldn’t expect a ton of defense in this match-up seeing how the Clippers have been a bit out of sync in the bubble.

On the other hand, the Mavericks have seemed to found their stride with Luka playing out of his mind. Kawhi Leonard is on a mission to win another franchise its first championship in back to back seasons.

Every game should be a thriller but it would be foolish to expect anything other than a Clippers series win.

My Prediction? Clippers in 6

(2) Clippers vs (7) Mavericks West First Round Schedule

Game 1DAL @ LACESPN8/17/20 | 9:00 PM EST
Game 2DAL @ LAC TNT8/19/20 | 9:00 PM EST
Game 3LAC @ DALTNT8/21/20 | 9:00 PM EST
Game 4LAC @ DALABC8/23/20 | 3:30 PM EST
Game 5DAL @ LAC*TBD If Needed
Game 6LAC @ DAL*TBD If Needed
Game 7DAL @ LAC *TBD If Needed

Click here to see all 2020 NBA Playoffs Series preview!

(4) Houston Rockets vs (5) Oklahoma City Thunder: Series Preview

Familiar faces and new foes in as Rockets and Thunder swapped point guards last summer

This is the series we never knew we’d want. Chris Paul looks to add revenge on the team who came within a game of beating the Warriors in 2018. After a short stint with the Houston Rockets, CP3 was then shipped to Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook and now the very following year they will face each other in a first-round playoff series.

Paul has been surprisingly very good with his new team in which many thought would be a rebuilding season. His guidance has lead to the development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander whose increased his scoring by 9.1 points and 2.9 rebounds from a season ago.

The Rockets are going to have their hands full trying to contain him. They will have to move forward with Westbrook sidelined as you could imagine Harden playing the entire game. Eric Gordon is expected back but will not be full strength. Luc Mbah a Moute was brought back to shore up the defense but will have to clear quarantine protocols before rejoining the club.

James Harden will have to carry the Rockets

Indeed, James Harden has carried the Rockets before and he’ll have no complaints about doing so in the first round. Russell Westbrook will be sidelined with a strained quadriceps muscle. The expectation is that Westbrook will be out for the first couple of games.

If you’re new to watching the Rockets then, let’s fill you in. This is a team that primarily will be shooting the ball and play with a very small line-up. Oklahoma City doesn’t offer an immediate offensive threat in the paint but will face an above-average rebounder in Steven Adams.

Pending that Westbrook returns the line-up this could be one of the most interesting first-round match-ups across the league. The Rockets hold the biggest advantage by having Harden who is the best player in the series.

As mentioned, the Rockets like the three-point shot or scoring in the paint. The Thunder had defended the three-point shot well this season very well as they’re ranked 2nd in opponent three-point field goal percentage. This is something to watch as the series goes on if Harden struggles offensively.

Competitive first-round series but Rockets advance

The Rockets traded Capela so Westbrook could operate in the paint unimpeded. With that option off the table, you would expect them to try and play even faster.

Chris Paul knows this and would look to utilize Adams down low to punish the undersized Rockets.

The Thunder won the season series 2-1 so expect a very competitive first round. Westbrook’s early absence will make this series longer than it has to be but expect the Rockets to move on.

My Prediction? ROCKETS in 7


(4) Rockets vs (5) Thunder West First Round Schedule

Game 1OKC @ HOUTNT8/18/20 | 6:30 PM EST
Game 2OKC @ HOUESPN8/20/20 | 3:30 PM EST
Game 3HOU @ OKCESPN8/22/20 | 6:00 PM EST
Game 4HOU @ OKCTNT8/24/20 |4:00 PM EST
Game 5OKC @ HOU*TBD If Needed
Game 6HOU @ OKC*TBD If Needed
Game 7OKC @ HOU*TBD If Needed

Click here to see the 2020 NBA Playoffs Bracket

(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!

2020 NBA Playoffs Bracket

The 2020 NBA Playoffs tip-off on August 17th, 2020

Eastern Conference First Round:


East First Round: (1) Milwaukee Bucks vs (8) Orlando Magic
East First Round: (2) Toronto Raptors vs (7) Brooklyn Nets

Western Conference First Round:

West First Round: (2) Los Angeles Clippers vs (7) Dallas Mavericks
West First Round: (4) Houston Rockets vs (5) Oklahoma City Thunder


Full 2020 NBA Play-In and Playoffs Schedule

Vote for your NBA Bubble Player Awards!


For more NBA content, check out the Shoot or Pass podcast – new episodes drop on Mondays anywhere you get your podcasts and right here on www.BaselineTimes.com

Follow us on Instagram & Twitter – @baselinetimes

2020 NBA Playoffs: Play-In and First Round Schedule and Matchups

The NBA has formally released the Play-In Tournament and First Round Schedule and Matchups schedule. Seeding play is ending on August 14th, 2020. Missed the bubble seeding standings? Check them out here!

When are the NBA Finals?
The NBA Finals will begin on Sept 30, 2020.

2020 NBA Western Conference Play-In

(8) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (9) Memphis Grizzlies

Game 1: Sat, Aug 15 Memphis at Portland, 2:30 ET, ABC
Game 2: Sun, Aug 16 Memphis at Portland, 4:30 ET, ESPN*

2020 NBA Western Conference First Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Play-In Winner

Game 1: Tue, Aug 18 Play-In Winner at Los Angeles, 9 ET, TNT
Game 2: Thu, Aug 20 Play-In Winner at Los Angeles, 9 ET, ESPN
Game 3: Sat, Aug 22 Los Angeles at Play-In Winner, 8:30 ET, ABC
Game 4: Mon, Aug 24 Los Angeles at Play-In Winner, 9 ET, TNT
Game 5*: Wed, Aug 26 Play-In Winner at Los Angeles, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28 Los Angeles at Play-In Winner, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30 Play-In Winner at Los Angeles, TBD, TBD
 

(2) LA Clippers vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks

Game 1: Mon, Aug 17 Dallas at LA, 9 ET, ESPN
Game 2: Wed, Aug 19 Dallas at LA, 9 ET, TNT
Game 3: Fri, Aug 21 LA at Dallas, 9 ET, TNT
Game 4: Sun, Aug 23 LA at Dallas, 3:30 ET, ABC
Game 5*: Tue, Aug 25 Dallas at LA, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27 LA at Dallas, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sat, Aug 29 Dallas at LA, TBD, TNT
 

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Utah Jazz

Game 1: Mon, Aug 17 Utah at Denver, 1:30 ET, ESPN
Game 2: Wed, Aug 19 Utah at Denver, 4 ET, TNT
Game 3: Fri, Aug 21 Denver at Utah, 4 ET, TNT
Game 4: Sun, Aug 23 Denver at Utah, 9 ET, TNT
Game 5*: Tue, Aug 25 Utah at Denver, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27 Denver at Utah, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sat, Aug 29 Utah at Denver, TBD, TNT
 

(4/5) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (4/5) Houston Rockets

Game 1: Tue, Aug 18 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, 6:30 ET, TNT
Game 2: Thu, Aug 20 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, 3:30 ET, ESPN
Game 3: Sat, Aug 22 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, 6 ET, ESPN
Game 4: Mon, Aug 24 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, 4 ET, TNT
Game 5*: Wed, Aug 26 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30 Oklahoma City vs. Houston, TBD, TBD​​​​​​

2020 NBA Eastern Conference First Round

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Orlando Magic

Game 1: Tue, Aug 18 Orlando at Milwaukee, 1:30 ET, TNT
Game 2: Thu, Aug 20 Orlando at Milwaukee, 6 ET, ESPN
Game 3: Sat, Aug 22 Milwaukee at Orlando, 1 ET, TNT
Game 4: Mon, Aug 24 Milwaukee at Orlando, 1:30 ET, NBATV
Game 5*: Wed, Aug 26 Orlando at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28 Milwaukee at Orlando, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30 Orlando at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
 

(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Brooklyn Nets 

Game 1: Mon, Aug 17 Brooklyn at Toronto, 4 ET, ESPN
Game 2: Wed, Aug 19 Brooklyn at Toronto, 1:30 ET, NBATV
Game 3: Fri, Aug 21 Toronto at Brooklyn, 1:30 ET, NBATV
Game 4: Sun, Aug 23 Toronto at Brooklyn, 6:30 ET, TNT
Game 5*: Tue, Aug 25 Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27 Toronto at Brooklyn, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sat, Aug 29 Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TNT
 

(3) Boston Celtics vs. (6) Philadelphia 76ers

Game 1: Mon, Aug 17 Philadelphia at Boston, 6:30 ET, ESPN
Game 2: Wed, Aug 19 Philadelphia at Boston, 6:30 ET, TNT
Game 3: Fri, Aug 21 Boston at Philadelphia, 6:30 ET, TNT
Game 4: Sun, Aug 23 Boston at Philadelphia, 1 ET, ABC
Game 5*: Tue, Aug 25 Philadelphia at Boston, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Thu, Aug 27 Boston at Philadelphia, TBD, ESPN
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 29 Philadelphia at Boston, TBD, TNT
 

(4/5) Miami Heat vs. (4/5) Indiana Pacers

Game 1: Tue, Aug 18 Miami vs. Indiana, 4 ET, TNT
Game 2: Thu, Aug 20 Miami vs. Indiana, 1 ET, ESPN
Game 3: Sat, Aug 22 Miami vs. Indiana, 3:30 ET, TNT
Game 4: Mon, Aug 24 Miami vs. Indiana, 6:30 ET, TNT
Game 5*: Wed, Aug 26 Miami vs. Indiana, TBD, TBD
Game 6*: Fri, Aug 28 Miami vs. Indiana, TBD, TBD
Game 7*: Sun, Aug 30 Miami vs. Indiana, TBD, TBD

* – If Necessary
TBD – To Be Determined


Per NBA.com

Breaking down the race for the NBA play-in tournament out west

The NBA is set for a play-in tournament out west

The first play-in tournament game will be played Saturday, August 15 at 2:30pm ET. If the 9th seed gets the victory, a second play-in game will take place on Sunday, August 16 at 4:30pm ET.

What does a path to the playoffs look like for the four teams in the race for the 8th or 9th spots? Let’s take a look.

Stay up-to-date with our latest NBA Bubble Standings

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Blazers Overcome Fouls, Heavy Hearts To Defeat Grizzlies In Overtime | Portland  Trail Blazers

To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Brooklyn Nets

OR

Lose vs. Brooklyn Nets + Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs all lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

Lose vs. Brooklyn Nets + two of the following teams lose a game (Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs)

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions: Rockets vs. Spurs (Tuesday, August  11) | The Action Network

To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Utah Jazz + Portland Trail Blazers/Memphis Grizzlies/Phoenix Suns all lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Utah Jazz + 2 of the following teams lose their final game (Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns)

PHOENIX SUNS

Booker breaks Twitter - Bright Side Of The Sun

To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Dallas Mavericks + Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Dallas Mavericks + one of the following teams loses their final game (Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies)

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Memphis Grizzlies: Brutal remaining schedule looming large

To secure the 8th seed:

WIN vs. Milwaukee Bucks + Portland Trail Blazers lose their final game

To secure the 9th seed:

WIN vs. Milwaukee Bucks + Portland Trail Blazers win their final game

OR

Lose vs. Milwaukee Bucks + the following teams lose their final game (Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs)

Latest from Baseline Times


NBA bubble player rankings – Studs and Duds from the first week of seeding games

Studs and Duds from the first seek of seeding games!

A new episode of the Shoot or Pass Podcast is out! Chevy, Gabe, and Rhoby share their version of NBA bubble player rankings in a segment called Studs and Duds. Find out below who are the Studs and Duds from last week’s seeding games.

STUDS

Chevy – Phoenix Suns

Picking an entire team here because going 5-0 when no one saw it coming is STUD-ly. Devin Booker has been shining! Did you see the walk-off three he hit on Paul George to beat the Clippers? The rest of the team deserves some credit too. DeAndre Ayton is playing great, Ricky Rubio is proving to be a wonderful complimentary player. Don’t discount the Cams (Cameron Payne/Cam Johnson) either. Holding TJ Warren to just 16 points when he is averaging a whopping 36 points in the bubble is quite an accomplishment. Needless to say, this is an entirely different team in the bubble. Don’t be surprised if they end up as the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoffs!

Gabe – Michael Porter Jr.

This guy. Where has Denver been hiding him? His injuries held him out last year, but he is averaging 26.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 block a game. To add, he is shooting a whopping 47.8% from three-point land. The Nuggets have some key players out with injuries. Fortunately for them, Michael Porter Jr. continues to put video game numbers each game. If you haven’t heard the name, you need to watch his game!

Rhoby – Chris Paul

I got a tweet of a picture of Devon Booker and Chevy threw in TJ Warren as a suggestion for my consideration. No chance I pick the man who just torched the HEAT nor will I disrespect my boy Jimmy Butler. Thankfully, there’s a man out there who is reveling in renaissance, a man who not only drinks vino, but is aging like it. Some know him as a snitch, some know him as a leader, I call him the Point God – Chris Paul. First, he stares down Bol Bol and hits a big jumper in his face on Monday. Then he capitalizes on the Laker’s shooting woes and has a great game today. Consequently, the Thunder are looking smoother and moving the ball better and can be a dangerous team come playoffs.

DUDS

Chevy – New Orleans Pelicans

Sticking to my theme this week of picking entire teams. After picking Zion Williamsion as my dud last week, this team had ground to make up. Instead, they are packing their bags and heading back home after a disappointing effort in the bubble. Before Lonzo Ball got on the court for Sunday’s “matinee” game vs. the San Antonio Spurs, he was averaging 5.8 points per game, shooting 27% from the field and 22% from the arch. Subsequently, Zion’s performance is also puzzling. It is abundantly clear he’s got some conditioning issues. Furthermore, the minute restrictions he’s under are confusing. During the match up against the Spurs, Alvin Gentry made the decision to pull him out of the game while he was in the midst of a run in the third quarter. Did the Pelicans give up on this season entering this game? Sure looks like it!

Gabe – Joel Embiid

I see a lot of similarities between Joel Embiid and one of my favorite players of all time, Rasheed Wallace. Like Embiid, Wallace had all the tools to win in the NBA, but would end up settling for the back-seat role. When I watch Embiid play, I see a player who can dominate in the paint, take over the defense, and shoot the ball from all over the court. With that said, why does he struggle to put on consistent performances? I believe no one can stop him. He has the ability to outperform any one in the NBA. Unfortunately, he just does not play up to his competition consistently enough and that will continue to hurt the Sixers.

Rhoby – The Shot Clock Operator in the Jazz-Nuggets double-overtime thriller

It is one thing if the clock malfunctions and doesn’t start once, but seeing that followed up with the clock starting too early three seconds later in the next play is a bit ridiculous. Was the shot clock operator in cahoots with TNT? Because I saw TNT take advantage of this by sandwiching even more commercials at the end of the 4th Q and in overtime. All this to say, if the NBA is hiring new shot clock operators, I have absolutely no experience but am happy to clear up my schedule for them.

Check out our NBA Bubble Standings updated around the clock!

Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast

Our NBA dedicated podcast now streaming on all your favorite platforms!



NBA Studs and Duds from the first weekend of the season restart

One weekend down and many to go. Our Shoot or Pass Podcast Co-Hosts will be sharing their Studs and Duds right here. Who impressed and who disappointed? Find out below!

STUDS

Chevy – Damian Lillard

While we’ve witnessed a win and a loss from the Blazers, Dame is making NBA headlines. Dame means business in the bubble. He’s not here to play just 2 weeks and 8 games of basketball, he plans on sticking around for a deep run. He’s playing playoff minutes (45 vs. the Grizzlies, 44 vs. the Celtics) and is averaging about 30 points each game (29 vs. the Grizzlies, 30 vs. the Celtics). Unfortunately, the Blazers lost yesterday after a big on Friday, but the goal here is to get within 4 games of the 8th seed to force a play-in. I think Dame can keep them hanging around for it.

Rhoby – Kyle Lowry

KYLEFORNIA knows how to party! Lebronto is no more, as Lebron and the Lakers were bullied around by Kyle Lowry Friday night. NBA players are supposed to be breaking down by their mid-30s and undersized guards aren’t supposed to be hitting threes with a 7-footer in their face or making an impact as a rim protector, however, Kyle Lowry isn’t getting the memo. He scored a game-high 33 points, nabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, and has 6 assists. I am sold. The Raptors are a force to be reckoned with in this NBA Restart.

DUDS

Chevy – Zion Williamson

I know I have to tread carefully here because this is the NBA’s new poster boy, but if I’m Adam Silver you want him to be seen and on the floor. What is his deal? A month or two ago, a picture of Zion surfaced on social media and he looked like he was in great shape and ready to lead the Pelicans to the playoffs. Needless to say, I don’t understand the way Alvin Gentry is restricting his minutes. In the loss to the Jazz, Zion was on the bench for a crucial 4th quarter. Wouldn’t you want the best player on your team to be playing in those scenarios? Definitely a concern for a rising star on a team fighting for playoff spot.

Rhoby – Shake Milton

To begin with, this stat line says it all – 0 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists. NOT a good look for the new starting PG of a Sixers. This team appears to be failing expectations. What’s new? He appeared to have no command of the ball, only took one shot in the game in the 4th quarter, made some bad turnovers, and found himself in foul trouble. He focused on racial injustice in post-game comments, which is great, but I hope he’s also focusing on his game going forward because the Sixers need him to show up if they want to make noise in the playoffs!

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