NBA Bubble Week 10 Recap: One More Win

After 10 weeks inside the NBA Bubble, by this time next week, there will be an NBA Champion, which is something that seemed impossible back in March.

Top Story: Lakers Are One Win Away From The Title

When we last spoke, the Los Angeles Lakers dismantled the Miami Heat in Game 1, 116-98. After the Heat jumped out to a 23-10 lead, the Lakers went on a remarkable 75-30 run to seize control of the game. Since Game 1, the contests have been a lot closer, but some things like LeBron’s dominance haven’t changed.

In Game 2, the Lakers proved they have the best duo in the game with James and Anthony Davis. The pair combined for 65 points and 23 rebounds as the Lakers came out on top, 124-114. Even though the Heat missed both Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, Miami played pretty well all things considered. They shot 50% from the field, 40% from 3, and 91% from the line. However, they couldn’t stop James and Davis with the latter making 14 of his first 15 shots.

To describe Game 3, use one name and one name only: Jimmy Butler. What Butler did was one of the most impressive and inspiring acts I’ve ever witnessed on a basketball court. Without Dragic and Bam, Butler said, “Guys, get on my back and get out of the way.” Butler accumulated a triple-double with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. Jimmy Buckets joined LeBron James and Jerry West as the third player in NBA history to record a 40+ point triple-double in the NBA Finals.

Game 4 was the ugliest and grittiest game of the series. It was back and forth throughout the entire game. Then, the King put on his crown and asserted himself in the final quarter, scoring 11 points (7 of them from the line), 5 rebounds, and 2 assists to secure a 102-96 victory. The biggest takeaway was Davis’ defense on Butler, who personally held the Miami star to 1 of 7 shooting, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

LeBron knows a thing or two about 3-1 leads so I don’t expect the Lakers to take their feet off the gas in Game 5.

The MVP Is…

Before Game 3, there were some rumblings that AD was making a case for Finals MVP if the Lakers took home the title.

Heading into Game 5, let me be the first to tell you that Anthony Davis will not win MVP as long as LeBron James is on the court. Coming into the series, there was a path for Davis to edge out LeBron for MVP. It would take something along the lines of 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, and pure domination on the defensive end. That being said, AD’s performance in Game 3 threw out his chances for MVP. Had Butler not had a historic showcase, the biggest story would revolve around AD’s “no show” because that’s exactly what happened. Davis had a mere 15 points on 9 (!!!!) shots from the field to go along with -26 +/- rating. This is the difference between Davis, a top 5 player in the world, and LeBron, the best player in the world. Even in LeBron’s “bad games,” he’s usually in the neighborhood of 20+ points, 6+ rebounds, 7+ assists. LeBron’s averaging 27/11/8. If the Lakers win it all, it’s his MVP.

If the Heat do the unthinkable and come back from a 3-1 deficit to win it all, Butler will be the unanimous MVP.

Week 10 MVP: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

KCP, I’m sorry. I used to slander your name. Now, you’re shoving that slander right in my face. KCP’s been a godsend for the Lakers this series. He’s third on the team in scoring with 11 points per game. However, KCP’s clutch scoring has been the difference. In Game 1, when the Lakers had no answers in the first quarter, KCP ignited their offensive surge with 10 points in the quarter. With under four minutes left in Game 4, KCP scored 5-straight points to increase the Laker lead from 2 to 7. KCP, you have my respect. Danny Green, you’ve lost my respect until further notice.

Week 4 LVP: Tyler Herro

This hurts, but I have to call it as it is. Tyler Herro is having a productive series, but he will live forever in Internet history after LeBron bodied the budding star.

I still love you, Herro!

Week 11 Storyline: A Champion Will Be Crowned

Will the title belong to the King or will it belong to his former employer in South Beach?

What are your top storylines from Week 10 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 9 Recap: LeBron The Conqueror

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers

I had high hopes for the NBA Finals inside the NBA Bubble. LeBron going for his fourth ring and having to do it against the team that helped him win his first is a great storyline. However, after Game 1, those high hopes quickly evaporated.

Top Story: LeBron And The Lakers Dominate Game 1

In Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, the Heat came out firing. Jimmy Butler was 4 of 4 from the field, the Lakers couldn’t stop the Heat’s ball movement, and Miami appeared to be a resectable advisory to the favored Lakers. The Heat jumped out to a 23-10 lead. Then, all hell broke loose. The Lakers went on a jaw-dropping 75-30 run on their way to a commanding 116-98 win. LeBron James was LeBron, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists. However, Anthony Davis was on another level of dominance. The Heat had no answers for AD as the superstar big man finished with 34 points and 9 rebounds.

The Heat Are In Trouble Thanks To Their Lack Of Size And Depth

The Lakers were the better team going into the series because they have the best player in the world and another player ranked in the top 5. However, Miami’s top 6 players and their ability to frustrate opponents on defense led many people to believe that the Heat had a chance to upset the Lakers. I was one of those people and right now, my prediction is not looking so good. Going into the series, the Heat would have no answers for LeBron, but at least they have an athletic big man in Bam Adebayo who could contain AD to an extent. In Game 1, Bam was in foul trouble early, and the Lakers had clear mismatches inside and on the glass. The Heat had no answers for AD especially when the Heat went small. The rebounding disparity was noticeable as the Lakers outrebounded the Heat, 54-36. Simply put, the Lakers were bigger, stronger, and tougher in Game 1.

Unfortunately, the Heat were decimated with injuries to three of their key players. Goran Dragic suffered a left foot torn plantar fascia and is doubtful for Game 2. Dragic is the team’s second-leading scorer and when he left the game, the score was only 41-40 in favor of the Lakers. I would be shocked if Dragic returned at any point in this series. Bam is also listed as doubtful for Game 2 due to a neck strain. If Dragic and Bam don’t return to the series, it will most likely end in a Lakers sweep. Keep in mind that Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle in Game 1 so even if he plays in Game 2, he may not be 100%.

Week 9 MVP: Lakers Supporting Cast

I will be first to admit that I did not believe in the Lakers’ supporting cast behind LeBron and AD. I would take five to six guys on the Heat before I would take the third-best player on the Lakers. Clearly, they heard my comment and came firing in Game 1. The Lakers hit a franchise-record 11 3-pointers in the first half and according to ESPN Stats & Information research, 8 of 12 were open looks. KCP, Rondo, Danny Green, and Caruso were all great, especially in the first half. I wouldn’t expect the Lakers to make 11 3-pointers again in the first half, but if they can continue to make consistent shots from behind the arc, Miami is in for a rude awakening.

One quick thought: Do not be a prisoner of the moment. The Lakers supporting cast played a great game. but do not act like they’ve been great all year. I saw so many takes about how we all “knew this was a good supporting cast.” Really? The same people making those takes were the same people banishing Danny Green and KCP to Mars for their poor shooting performances earlier in the NBA Bubble. They played well, but let’s all stop pretending that we didn’t slander the entire Lakers bench all season.

Week 9 LVP: Me

I stand by this rationale. However, right now it seems as if I was incorrect and will be taking a huge “L” within the next week. What’s ironic is I picked the Lakers to win the title both before the season and before the bubble.

Week 10 Storyline: Erik Spoelstra Needs To Be Houdini

If there was ever a time for Erik Spoelstra to pull a rabbit out of his hat, it would be now. Spo faces a tall task especially if he loses both Dragic and Bam. It’s clear the Heat need more size, but can Kelly Olynyk, Meyers Leonard, and Solomon Hill be trusted to play tough defense and rebound? I’m not sure. However, Spo has made the right adjustments in every series so far so I’m expecting an improved game plan from here on out. I’m not ready to declare the Heat dead just yet, but they will be on life support if they lose Game 2.

What are your top storylines from Week 9 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 8 Recap: There Goes My Herro

Tyler Herro

You know what’s coming in this NBA Bubble recap. Did somebody say Tyler Tuesday?

Top Story: Tyler Herro’s Coming Out Party

For some players, the lights are a little too bright for them on the biggest stage. For Tyler Herro, the lights aren’t bright enough. The 20-year old rookie sensation saved his best performance for the biggest game of the season as the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 112-109, to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The eclectic Herro led the Heat with 37 points on 14-21 shooting including 5-10 from behind the arc. Herro also tallied 6 boards and 6 assists. Simply put, Herro was sensational.

I’ve been on the Herro bandwagon for a few months, but even I will admit that I never expected this star trajectory in such a short amount of time. It’s not that Herro is scoring the ball, but it’s how he’s creating offensive opportunities for him and his teammates. If you’re slow to close out, he’ll hit the 3. If you’re too aggressive, Herro will take you off the dribble and finish with either hand at the rim. I’m most impressed with his ability to attack off the pick-and-roll. Herro does this hesitation move where he has his defender on his back, which freezes the help man. He’s in full control of the moment and in a split second, makes a decision to shoot, drive, or pass. It’s so impressive to watch this level of offensive creativity from a 20-year-old kid.

I mentioned it before, but Herro shines when the lights are brightest. He has no fear in his eyes. This confidence in oneself is something that cannot be taught. Herro is the type of guy to bring a knife to a gunfight and still think he’ll win easily. Now, we’re all left to imagine Herro’s ceiling as a player. If last night was a preview of the future, Herro will be an all-star sooner rather than later.

Should The Lakers Be Worried?

No… at least, not yet.

Jamal Murray isn’t wrong. First of all, the Nuggets should not be overlooked. Rightfully so, Denver earned America’s respect after overcoming 3-1 series deficits to both the Jazz and Clippers. Secondly, the Nuggets should be up 2-1 They couldn’t grab a rebound at the end of Game 2, allowing the Lakers to extend the game and eventually hit a game-winning shot. Plus, if Plumlee follows Anthony Davis instead of trapping LeBron, the Lakers probably have to take a tougher shot instead of the three that Davis made to win the game. Also, the Nuggets outplayed the Lakers for three and half quarters in Game 3 in their 114-106 win.

With all that being said, the Lakers are still the best team standing inside the NBA Bubble. As long as LeBron James stays healthy, the Lakers should win the NBA Finals. Even in Game 3, where the Lakers were outplayed for most of the game, LeBron still accumulated a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. I also wouldn’t expect AD to only grab 2 rebounds in the next game. The Lakers are going to be fine in the long run if they’re healthy, but that doesn’t mean the road to a championship will be bumpy. Do not be surprised if the Nuggets win another game to force the series to a sixth, or even seventh game.

Week 8 MVP: Miami’s Zone Defense

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about zone defense. They include “Zones are lazy defenders,” “Zone defense is a cop-out,” and “Zones will never work at a professional level.” Erik Spoelstra and his zone defense are putting those stereotypes to rest because the Celtics have few answers for Miami’s zone. According to Miami Herald, the Celtics scored just 41 points in 48 total possessions against the Heat’s zone in the first two games. Although the Celtics figured the zone out in Game 3 thanks to the return of Gordon Hayward, the Heat played zone for most of the Game 4, stifling the Boston offense and in particular, Jayson Tatum, who had zero points in the first half. The zone may not be the future of the NBA, but for now, it’s working as Miami is one game away from the NBA Finals.

Week 8 LVP: The Nuggets Strategy At The End Of Game 2

For the Nuggets, I truly don’t know what happened on this play. Was it miscommunication or a missed assignment? Whatever the case may be, it was a gigantic mistake, plain and simple. I hate to blame one play for the reason why a team lost, but this play makes a strong argument for blaming one specific play that led to a loss.

Storyline For Week 9: Will The Heat And Lakers Put Away Their Respective Opponents Sooner Rather Than Later?

The worst thing a team can do is to give their opponent hope. Both the Heat and Lakers are in the driver’s seat in their respective series. Put away the Celtics and Nuggets early because the longer they hang around, the more dangerous they become. My advice is to do the exact opposite of what the Jazz and Clippers did.

What are your top storylines from Week 8 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 7 Recap: To Choke, Or Not To Choke

Nikola Jokic

Just when you think the NBA Bubble couldn’t get any crazier, the Denver Nuggets decided to eliminate Los Angeles Clippers in humiliating fashion. Let’s not beat around the bush. Let’s talk about the Clippers.

Top Story: Bye Bye, Clippers

1, 2, 3, Cancun! For a team that talked the talk the entire season, the Los Angeles Clippers did not walk the walk. Saying they walked even a little is disrespectful to those who can walk! In Game 7, the Nuggets came back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Clippers, 104-89. When the Clippers needed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George the most, they were nowhere to be found.

NBA Twitter had a field day. It may have been the wildest night on NBA Twitter since the Rockets-Clippers secret tunnel brawl.

Why did we believe in the Clippers? I am not free from ridicule. I believed the Clippers would at least make the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Lakers. I thought Kawhi, PG, and the boys could “turn it on” when it mattered most. Boy, was I WRONG. This team showed no heart whatsoever. The Nuggets came back from deficits of 16 points, 18 points, and 12 points in the final three games of the series to send the Clippers on a one way trip to Cancun. The Nuggets deserve all the credit in the world. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray played like superstars, but unfortunately, the bigger story lies with the underachieving Clippers.

Anchor // iTunes // Spotify // Breaker // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // Castbox // Overcast 

Did the Clippers choke? I see a lot of writers saying they don’t like to use the word, “choke.” What other words would you use to describe this situation? The Clippers blew a 3-1 lead as a double-digit favorite to a team with 1 player who has made it past the second round. The Clippers choked.

Miami Heat Thought Of The Week: This Team Doesn’t Die

Last week, I professed my love for the Miami Heat. I am fully on the Heat bandwagon. Butler, Dragic, Bam, Herro, Duncan, and Jae have made me a believer. This team plays hard on both ends of the floor for 48 minutes. In the first two games against the Celtics, the Heat overcame deficits of 14 points and 17 points to win both games and take a 2-0 series lead. To quote Austin Powers, “Why won’t you die?”

The biggest mismatch in this series occurs in the coaching department. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the NBA, but he’s getting dominated by Erik Spoelstra. In fact, Spoelstra, who’s a Top-5 coach in the league, is running laps around Stevens. From playing zone defense to shortening his lineup, Spoelstra has made the perfect adjustment to everything thrown his way. It’s a coaching clinic. If Stevens doesn’t figure it out, the Celtics will join the Clippers in Cancun.

Week 7 MVP: Bam Adebayo

That Bam Adebayo is some player, huh? Bam is having the week of his life. Bam, a runnerup for Most Improved Player, has been a true game-changer for the Heat. Bam made one of the best blocks I’ve ever seen in my life to seal the victory in Game 1. LeBron’s block in Game 7 is the best defensive play I’ve ever seen, but if I’m judging it purely based on the block itself and degree of difficulty, Bam’s could be the best ever.

In Game 2, Bam got to the rim at will, especially in the second half. Bam finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists as the Heat took a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Jimmy Butler is the most important player on the Heat, but Bam is X-factor.

Week 7 LVP: Every Player And Coach On The Clippers

I hate beating a dead horse, but for all the shit the Clippers talked, they deserve every joke thrown their way. The Clippers will be a favorite to make the NBA Finals next year (if the team stays together), but for now, let’s enjoy the roast while we can.

Storyline For Week 8: All Eyes On LeBron

Remember LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players to ever live? Yeah, that guy has a chance to win his fourth title. The stage is set for LeBron to win his fourth ring as the Lakers are the clear favorite to win it all inside the NBA Bubble. Can the King deliver?

What are your top storylines from Week 7 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 6 Recap: Miami Vice And The City Of Angels

LeBron James Lakers

Last week, the players went on strike. This week, the players put on a show as the competition was at an all-time high. A soon-to-be two-time MVP bounced from the bubble, the LA teams established their dominance, and two words, Game 7. That’s a hell of a week inside the NBA Bubble.

Top Story: Welcome To Miami

In the end, Miami was too hot to handle. Before we talk about Giannis, let’s give the Heat the majority of the credit. They were the better team the entire series. Even if you take away the bogus calls to end Game 2, Miami still wins that game. Despite two of the games ending with a differential of a combined five points, this series really wasn’t that close. The Heat dominated almost every statistical category including assists, rebounds, 3 pointers made, and free throws made. Jimmy Butler looks like a genius for asking out of Philadelphia to join a young Heat squad led by Erik Spoelstra, who coached circles around Mike Budenholzer. To quote Mr. Buckets, “I told you. We got some motherfuckers that can ball on this team. Say I’m fucking right. Say I’m fucking right. I told you.” Jimmy, you were right. Your squad can ball and currently owns the best record in the playoffs at 8-1. In an unprecedented season, toughness will prevail, and the Heat are as tough as they come.

The Giannis Thought Of The Week: The Giannis Sweepstakes Are In Full Force

This was supposed to be the year Giannis got over the hump. Everything was set up for Giannis and the Bucks to reach the Finals. Did the pandemic change things? Absolutely. Milwaukee earned the right to play in front of their fans. However, every single team had to face the same set of circumstances inside the NBA Bubble. The Heat rose to the occasion while the Bucks floundered their opportunity. I’m not going to hold Game 5 against the Bucks because their star didn’t play, but in Games 1-4, the Bucks were outplayed and outcoached. The right group of players is not surrounding Giannis. The Greek Freak is not a point forward who can create his own jump shot and pull up from 3. (Giannis shot 21% from 3 in the Heat series.) Giannis is a downhill, dominant wing who thrives in transition, where he can get to the basket at will.

The elephant in the room is Giannis’s contract situation in Milwaukee. He’s eligible for the largest contract in NBA history and can sign it this fall. If he chooses to wait, all hell will break loose. Every team will try to make a play for the 25-year-old superstar. Take LeBron’s decision and the Kawhi trade and multiply it by 10. That’s what’s in store for the NBA if Giannis doesn’t sign the deal this fall. Giannis needs a point guard, and Chris Paul could be the perfect fit. My advice to the Milwaukee front office is to buy more phones because the lines will be ringing nonstop this offseason.

LA Question Of The Week: Will The Clippers And Lakers Make The Conference Finals?


Next question.

Can the Nuggets and Rockets make it interesting? It’s possible. Maybe both teams steal Game 5 and keep their respective seasons alive. Can they both win Game 6 and Game 7? No chance. Kawhi and LeBron will not let that happen. Fans want Clippers vs. Lakers. The NBA wants Clippers vs. Lakers. I want Clippers vs. Lakers. Do you see a reoccurring theme?

Two Greatest Words In Sports: Game 7

Week 6 MVP: Tyler Herro

Did somebody say “Tyler Tuesday?” Tyler Herro has a swagger and confidence you can’t teach. From shooting his shot with model Katya Elise Henry to wanting the ball in big situations, this kid is fearless. Miami will only go as far as Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic take them, but if Miami wants to make the NBA Finals, they will need Herro to bring that confidence every night.

Week 6 MVP: Danuel House

We have some drama in the bubble! I hope the cameras behind the scenes documented this moment. Is Danuel House lying about not having contact with a female? Is House a fall guy for his teammate? Where is TMZ when you need them?

Storyline For Week 7: Conference Finals

If I have to pick the Conference Finals, I’ll say Heat vs. Celtics in the East and Lakers vs. Clippers in the West. Sign me up.

What are your top storylines from Week 6 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 5 Recap: We’re On To The Second Round

Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray

Last week was monumental when the players went on strike. After talking it over, the players and owners agreed on new social justice initiatives to carry out for the near future. Once basketball started up again in the NBA Bubble, it was a damn treat to watch. However, as Bill Belichick would say in this exact situation, “We’re on to the Second Round.”

Top Story: Young Talent Takeover

In terms of talent, the NBA is positioned for great success over the next decade because of their wealth of young talent. Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell, both 23-years-old, slugged it out for seven games, one-upping each other with each possession. It felt like a battle of two heavyweights. Check out these stat lines from both players.

Jamal Murray

Donovan Mitchell

These two young men gave it everything they had and more. Unfortunately, one guy had to go home and that team belonged to Mitchell. The Nuggets may have bested the Jazz thanks to a wild final sequence, but both Murray and Mitchell realized the gravity of the situation and showed nothing but respect towards each other.

Murray and Mitchell are two budding superstars that have the potential to become All-NBA guys and faces of the league. Add Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic and the NBA could have their version of “Four Horseman.” LeBron is still the top dog, but the young guns are coming.

Surprise Of The Week: James Harden Makes The Defensive Play Of The Bubble

James Harden’s legacy and narrative were set to experience a crushing blow last night. Quite simply, Harden had an atrocious night on the offensive side of the ball. Despite being the most gifted scorer in the NBA, Harden couldn’t hit the Atlantic Ocean while standing in a boat. The beard had a pedestrian 17 points on 4-15 shooting including 1-9 from 3. If the Rockets lost, that would have been the final straw for Harden’s defenders. As talented as he is, last night would have been added to Harden’s list of playoff clunkers and hiccups. Right before pressing “Send” on the anti-Harden tweets, Harden made the play of the NBA Bubble. Harden blocked Lu Dort on a game-winning 3 point attempt to preserve the win. Who would’ve thought that a Harden defensive play would be the reason why the Rockets advance? Now, Harden can add to his legacy if he slays the beast that is LeBron.

Time to Gloat: I Was Right About The Miami Heat

Full disclosure, I picked the Bucks to win the Eastern Conference so you can take my tweets with a grain of salt. However, I bet the Heat both games and so far, it’s paid off nicely. I’m in love with the Miami Heat. From their coaches to their players, I love the toughness they bring every night. Butler and the kids look like a team that is not afraid of the moment. With a 2-0 lead, the Heat may throw a wrench in everyone’s bracket.

Concern Of The Week: Are The Bucks Done?

In my Week 1 recap, I asked if we should be worried about the Bucks following a loss to the Brooklyn Nets in a game where Milwaukee was the biggest regular-season favorite in history. One week later, I asked if the Bucks were in trouble due to a lack of support for Giannis. It’s now been three weeks since that post and I’m close to pronouncing the Bucks as dead. They were outplayed in both games and despite a controversial foul call against Giannis in Game 2, the Heat deserved to win that game. Giannis needs to find his Superman cape quickly or his 2021 free agency discussions will only intensify.

Week 5 MVP: Lu Dort

I had no idea who Lu Dort was, but now, he’s an Internet darling. Good for this kid. From undrafted rookie to 30 point scorer in a winner-take-all game, I have to give my props to the Church of Dort.

Week 5 LVP: Billy Donovan

For a coach that exceeded expectations, that last play will be the stain on Billy Donovan’s 2019-2020 season.

Storyline For Week 6: Second Round

It’s 2:30 EST on Sept. 3. Here’s where the second round stands.

  • 4 Heat lead 1 Bucks, 2-0
  • 3 Celtics lead 2 Raptors, 2-0
  • 2 Clippers vs. 3. Nuggets, 0-0
  • 1 Lakers vs. 4 Rockets, 0-0

If either the Clippers or Lakers lose Game 1, I can’t wait for the “rest vs. rust” takes.

What are your top storylines from Week 5 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 4 Recap And Storylines: The NBA Pressed Pause

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Had this been a normal week, I would start this NBA Bubble recap with an ode to Luka Dončić, who gave one of the greatest performances I’ve seen in years. However, this was no normal week. In fact, this will be a week that will go down in history. The storyline of the week revolves around the strike.

Top Story: The NBA Players Decide To Strike

To quickly summarize what happened, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to not play their game against the Magic. The strike was in response to the situation involving Jacob Blake, an African American man who was shot seven times in the back by police officers. It’s important to note that the incident occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is about an hour away from where the Bucks play at Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks-Magic cancellation set off a domino effect that shook not only the entire league but the entire sports world.

The bombshell from the meeting involved the Lakers and Clippers, who voted to abandon the season. Notably, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, the two best players in the bubble, spoke up about not wanting to play.

After taking some time to think it over, the players once again met in the morning and decided to restart the league.

The decision to not play games inside the NBA and WNBA bubbles trickled into the MLB and NHL.

It’s truly been an unprecedented two days in sports. We are going to look back years from now and remember August 26, the day the players took action. Many former players and coaches such as Chris Webber, Doc Rivers, and Renee Montgomery gave passioned speeches that put a spotlight on social justice. In particular, a line in Webber’s speech is one that has stuck with me since I watched the clip. Webber said, “I don’t know the next steps. I don’t really care what the next steps are because the first steps are to garner attention. And they have everyone’s attention… Don’t listen to these people telling you to not do anything because it’s not gonna end right away. You are starting something for the next generation.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the decision to strike, the fact is the NBA and many athletes have our attention. What happens next? I leave you with an article about Maya Moore, who literally put her athletic career on hold to fight for social justice.

What are your top storylines from Week 4 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 3 Recap And Storylines: Playoffs? I Just Hope We Can Win A Game

Carmelo Anthony

In my best Jim Mora voice, “playoffs?” Yes, Jim, playoffs. After two weeks of the regular season, the playoffs are in full swing inside the NBA Bubble. To be quite honest, they’ve been better than advertised. The top seeds have struggled while the middle teams have dominated. That’s the bubble, for you.

Top Story: Offense, Offense, And More Offense

Is it cliche to say that offense wins games and defense wins championships? In the NBA Bubble, the offense flies while the defense dies. According to Cleaning the Glass, the 22 bubble teams averaged 113.17 points per 100 possessions, which is up almost two points since March. There are a lot of factors into why teams are scoring at will. Playing in a smaller gym with no fans makes it easier for guys to get their depth perception without distractions. Refs have also called more fouls early on with teams combining for nearly 11 more fouls per game.

On the flip side, teams that are defensive rebounding at a high rate while limiting points off turnovers and second-chance points are dominating their matchups. It’s not rocket science. Limit the other’s team opportunities to score and your team is set up to win. The Celtics, Rockets, and Raptors have surrendered the least points off of turnovers and the Heat, Raptors, and Celtics are given up the least second-chance points. All four teams lead their respective series two games to none. Moral of the story: play defense and rebound.

LA Thoughts: Dominate Or Forget How To Play

I’ll start with the Lakers. In Game 1, LeBron James went 23-17-16, which was 24th postseason triple-double and first 20-15-15 in NBA postseason history. Anthony Davis had 28 points and 11 rebounds but shot 8-24 from the field. However, the team shot an abysmal 5-32 from 3 and let Damian Lillard scored 34 points as the Blazers won 100-93. In Game 2, David dominated from start to finish with 32 and 11, LeBron went 10-7-6, and the team shot 36.8% from 3 in a 111-88 blowout victory. The Lakers will win the NBA title if they play as they did in Game 2. However, let’s see if the supporting cast shoots as well in Game 3 as they did in Game 2.

I’d be more worried about the other Los Angeles team right now. The Clippers could very well be down 0-2 in the series had Porzingis not been ejected in Game 1, which was the softest ejection in NBA history. Two main things stick out for the Clippers. The first being their inability to stop Luka Doncic, who is an absolute stud. The rest of the NBA should be terrified knowing that Luka, a 21-year-old, is imposing his will on the team many picked to win it all. The second thing we have to talk about is Playoff P, or Pandemic P. In Game 1, Paul George was Playoff P with 27 points on 10-22 shooting. In Game 2, Pandemic P scored 14 points on an abysmal 4-17 shooting. Stopping Doncic is priority number one, but George has to end the disappearing act every third or fourth game. He needs to bring it every night in order for the Clppers to advance.

“Don’t Forget About Us” Thought Of The Week: The Second Tier Is Coming

Going into the playoffs, the three favorites to win the title were the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks. It’s fair to say that most brackets had either the Lakers vs. Bucks or Clippers vs. Bucks in the NBA Finals. As Lee Corso always says, “Not so fast my friend.” The second tier of contenders has dominated their matchups so far. As I type this sentence, the Raptors are about to take a 3-0 series lead against the Nets. The Celtics are imposing their will against the Sixers as Tatum looks like a future 1st Team All NBA player. The Heat may be the most balanced team in the East led by a guy who I would want leading my squad in the playoffs, Jimmy Butler. The Rockets, a team known for shooting 3s at an alarming rate, have brought it on the defensive end, stifling the Thunder’s offense in both games. All four teams are 2-0 and it would not surprise me if all four teams sweep their series’ opponents, if not win 4-1. Los Angeles and Milwaukee, watch your backs.

Week 3 MVP: The Rockets Supporting Cast

Who needs Russell Westbrook and James Harden when you have Jeff Green? I’m kidding, but the Rockets supporting cast is playing out of their mind right now. Without Westbrook, the players not named Harden have stepped up in ways I didn’t know were possible. Harden was great in Game 1 with 37 points but struggled for his standards in Game 2 with an atrocious 2-11 performance behind the arc. Late in the 3rd quarter of Game 2, a struggling Harden went to the bench, and early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets went down 80-77. Fast forward six minutes and the Rockets complete a 17-0 run with Harden on the bench for most of it. Green is flourishing with a two-game average of 18.5 points. Eric Gordon, Danuel House, and P.J. Tucker are all contributing, but it’s their defense that has stood out after two games, holding OKC to 103 ppg, which is 7 points below their season average.

Week 3 LVP: Oklahoma City Thunder

I thought the Thunder matched up well with Houston especially with Westbrook on the shelf. I was wrong. The Thunder were outplayed by the Rockets in Game 1, but they had the lead in the 4th quarter of Game 2 before the Rockets made a huge run. The young Thunder have gotten little support from their bench. The Thunder have been outscored by the Rockets bench, 74-47. The Thunder have the talent to make this a series, but if they let Jeff Green and the Rockets supporting cast do whatever they want on offense, it will be a sweep.

Storyline For Week 4: Second Round Preparation

By this time next week, most of the first round matchups will have concluded. Which teams will get a few extra days of rest and which teams will have to spend the extra energy to put a team away? Tune in next time for more action from the NBA Bubble! *television announcer voice*

What are your top storylines from Week 3 inside the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

NBA Bubble Week 2 Recap And Storylines: It’s Playoff Time

Kawhi Leonard Luka Doncic nba bubble

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.

Damian Lillard portland
Damian Lillard

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

See above.

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.

NBA Bubble Week 1 Recap: This Is Working

Damian Lillard portland

Has the NBA bubble been a success or what? If you love basketball, the bubble has been heaven for fans. Nonstop action for 10 hours each day is music to my ears. It’s clear that the bubble is working.

Where do I even begin with storylines? The Lakers and Bucks are in cruise control, but they have glaring deficiencies. The Blazers could do damage if they make the playoffs. TJ Warren is now Michael Jordan? Here is a recap of Week 1.

Note: This blog was posted at 6:30 PM EDT on August 6.

Top Story: The Bubble Is Working

I was optimistic that the bubble would work. However, no one predicted that the bubble would be a resounding success. The television presentation has been seamless. No fans? No problem. I thought virtual fans would be corny. It surprisingly hasn’t been a distraction at all. Without the bad teams to beat up on (still love you, Knicks), 85% of the games are competitive. With games from 1 PM-1130 PM every day, the bubble is an NBA version of March Madness, Most importantly, COVID is under control. Things can change in the blink of an eye but for now, the bubble is working.

Top Basketball Story: The Lakers And Bucks Are Good, But Should They Be Worried?

Both the Lakers and Bucks will be the top seeds and should be the favorites to represent their respective conferences. However, both have major flaws. Right now, the Lakers are allergic to the offense. The offense hasn’t been bad; it’s been atrocious. After Wednesday night’s loss to the Thunder, the Lakers rank last in offensive rating at 96.6 points per 100 possesions. The Lakers won’t win any games if they shoot 5-for-37 from 3 as they did against the Thunder. LeBron and AD will be fine, but there are a lot of questions surrounding their supporting cast especially at the guard position.

As I write this blog, the Bucks are down 20 points to the Heat. This past Tuesday, the Bucks lost to the Nets as 19 point favorites, which is the biggest favorite to lose in an NBA regular-season game. Just like the Lakers, I also have questions about the Bucks’ secondary players around Giannis and Middleton.

Let’s not forget the Lakers and Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. They have the two best players in the game right now in LeBron and Giannis. I’m not writing them off whatsoever. However, I would be worried if their supporting casts are nonexistent in the playoffs.

Suprise Of The Bubble: Blazers

One could argue that the potential play-in game was put into place because of Zion. However, the team that’s benefitting the most from this new format is the Blazers. Despite making the Conference Finals a year ago, the Blazers are a better team now than they were a year ago. One word: health. The Blazers were decimated with injuries to two of their top big men, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, which explained their 28-37 record pre-bubble. With Nurkic and Collins, the Blazers are a different team. They can get production down low and guard bigger teams thanks to Nurkic, Collins, and Hasaan Whiteside. Plus, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are a top-5 duo in the NBA. If they secure the 8-seed, can the Blazers beat the Lakers in a 7-game series? Probably not. Can the Blazers give the Lakers trouble and push the series to six or seven games? Absolutely.

MVP So Far: TJ Warren

His name is now TJ “Michael Jordan” Warren. Who knew Warren could get buckets like MJ? More importantly, the Pacers are 3-0 and could be a tough out in the East.

LVP So Far: Pelicans

As previously mentioned, many including myself believe this play-in series was made for the Pelicans. However, after a 1-2 start, the Pelicans will need to step it up in order to get to the 9-seed. If the NBA wants Zion in the playoffs, New Orleans will need to let the big dog eat.

Storyline For Week 2: Effort

We’ve been blessed with competitive games for the first week. As more teams clinch playoff spots and the seeding falls into place, will teams continue to give max effort before the playoffs? Why play LeBron or Giannis if they’ve already clinched the 1-seed? I’m expecting a lot more lopsided scores in Week 2.

If you’re in the bubble, stay safe. Basketball in August has been a blessing. Let’s keep it that way.

What are your top storylines in the NBA bubble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.