The restart in the NBA bubble has been fantastic. Damian Lillard scores 100 points every night, the Rockets take 200 three-pointers, and the Suns refuse to lose games. However, it’s time to get down to brass tacks aka the playoffs. I apologize to Ja Morant, who I love and appreciate, but I’m rooting for the Blazers to win on Saturday so all the playoff matchups will be official.
Before we focus on the playoffs, let’s relieve Week 2 of the NBA bubble.
Top Story: Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard Sr.
Win or lose, we will never forget what Damian Lillard did these past two weeks. Entering the bubble, the Blazers needed to make up serious ground in order to at least get into the Play-In as the 9-seed. Not only did the Blazers go 6-2 to qualify for the Play-In, but they secured the 8-seed, which means they only need to win one game against the Grizzlies to advance. Lillard averaged an astounding 37.6 points (bubble leader) and 9.6 assists per game and let me tell you, they needed every single on one of those points. With his season on the line, this is what Dame did over the last three games.
I love Dame. He’s one of the easiest guys to root for in the NBA. In a league full of stars that switch teams almost every year, Dame hasn’t asked to leave Portland once. He puts his head down and goes to work each and every night. He defies the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I wouldn’t even blame Dame if he wanted out of Portland, but that’s not the guy he is. I hope the Blazers make the playoffs because I, along with NBA fans, want to see if he can scare the Lakers. It’s Dame Time.
Top Story If Lillard Didn’t Exist: Suns Go 8-0
I constantly change my opinion on moral victories. Can you actually win something if you lost? For the Suns, they missed the playoffs, but they never lost a game so I’m giving them a moral victory. The young kids of the Suns grew up in the bubble and matured beyond belief. Devon Booker is a stud who finally showcased his talents to a national audience. NBA fans knew Booker was good, but the question always revolved around his ability to lead and make others around him better. Booker silenced those critics with averages of 30.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game in the bubble. No one gave the Suns a chance when the NBA decided they were going to invite them to the restart. After going 8-0, the future is bright for the Suns.
Concerning Thought Of The Week: The Injury Bug Has Arrived
Injuries were bound to happen, but these two injuries, in particular, suck. Both Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook will miss some time in the playoffs. However, it looks like Simmons is done for the season while Westbrook may only miss a few games. Still, you hate to see star players with injuries. The Sixers and Rockets play the Celtics and Thunder, respectively, which would have been difficult matchups even at full strength. Now, the advantage lies with The Celtics and Thunder. On the bright side, we could see historic numbers from both Joel Embiid and James Harden. Embiid might average 30 points and 15 rebounds while Harden could put up 40 points and 10 assists. Let’s hope that most of the star players can stay healthy.
Follow Up Thought Of The Week: Are The 1-Seeds In Trouble?
This was my top basketball story in my Week 1 recap: “The Lakers And Bucks Are Good, But Should They Be Worried?” One week later and I’m still concerned. Frankly, the Lakers and Bucks looked far from spectacular during the restart. If you solely looked at the numbers from LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, you might think both the Lakers and Bucks are firing on all cylinders. However, both teams end the restart with 3-5 records before heading into the postseason. A lack of motivation could have played a part in their under .500 records since both teams locked up the 1-seeds early into the restart. Once again, the Lakers and Bucks are good teams and both teams should make their respective conference finals. However, if players not named LeBron, AD, or Giannis fail to provide support, the Lakers and Bucks won’t be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in October.
Week 2 MVP: Damian Lillard
Week 2 LVP: Pelicans
For the second straight week inside the NBA bubble, the LVP goes to the Pelicans. The NBA *allegedly* gifted the Pelicans with the easiest schedule upon the restart. How did they respond? The Pelicans went 2-6 and missed the playoffs. Now, the story is all about Zion and his health. I love Zion, but he looked out of shape and lost on defense. Zion is wise beyond his years. I truly believe that he will get into better basketball shape this offseason. However, you can’t help but think “what if” when it comes to a Lakers vs. Pelicans first-round matchup.
Storyline For Week 3: Playoff Time
Finally, it’s playoff time. Credit to the NBA for scheduling quadruple headers every single day of the first round. I can’t wait. See you next week.
What are your top storylines from Week 2 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.