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BBNBA: Former Wildcats struggle during an odd day inside the Bubble

(Coby Van Loan | Getty Images)

(Coby Van Loan | Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. It was our first slow day in the BBNBA world. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.

RECAP

OKC blows big first-quarter lead in loss to Grizz

Call it a Los Angeles hangover, but the OKC Thunder did not look up-to-par against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

After demolishing the Lakers in its previous outing on Wednesday by 29 points, OKC blew a huge first-quarter lead and was ultimately ran out of the gym by Memphis, falling 121-92. The victory for the Grizz marked its first of the Bubble, keeping them slightly ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers for the 8-seed in the Western Conference. An impressive 12 minutes of out the starting gate for the Thunder had them up by 18 points heading into the second quarter, however, they would go on to shoot just 6-30 from 3-point range in the final three periods. Memphis closed the game on a 101-55 run, which is just confusing to type out by itself.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander struggled throughout the game, posting 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists while shooting 3-13 from the field and 1-8 from beyond the arc. OKC was without starting center Steven Adams along with Sixth Man of the Year candidate Dennis Schröder, significantly trimming down the rotation. As a result, Nerlens Noel received the start for the Thunder, adding 11 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes. Hamidou Diallo contributed seven points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals, as well.

Fox and Kings fall to 1-4 in the Bubble

Following in the footsteps of the Thunder, De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings took a beating against the Brooklyn Nets. Considering the Nets are missing its two biggest stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, they’ve been a Bubble surprise down in Orlando thus far, officially securing a playoff spot with a win over the Kings on Friday.

Unfortunately for Fox and company, they move to 1-4 in the Bubble with a waning chance of forcing a play-in round. The former Wildcat did manage a BBNBA-high of 21 points in addition to two boards and seven assists. The highest Sacramento can finish in the standings now is 9th, meaning they would have to force a play-in round if they want to sneak in the postseason.

Other notes from the Bubble

  • My star of the Bubble, Keldon Johnson, finally had a so-so outing for the San Antonio Spurs. In another big win by SAS over the Utah Jazz, Johnson registered a mere four points but did contribute five rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block in 23 minutes. The Spurs remain within one game of the 8-seeded Trail Blazers. Here’s an updated look at the standings near the bottom of the Western Conference.
  • We are all unofficial Suns and Spurs fans. Bandwagon accordingly.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)106-119 L @ BKN217-15 (2-7)27103-1132
Nerlens Noel (OKC)92-121 L @ MEM114-6 (0-0)41101-1626
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)92-121 L @ MEM103-13 (1-8)33103-934
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)92-121 L @ MEM73-11 (1-4)82200-1822
Keldon Johnson (SAS)119-111 W vs. UTA41-2 (0-1)51312+523
Enes Kanter (BOS)122-100 W @ TORDNP-CD----------------

TODAY IN THE BUBBLE

1:00 (TNT): Clippers (Patterson) @ Trail Blazers (Gabriel)

3:30 (TNT): Jazz @ Nuggets (Murray: questionable)

6:00 (TNT): Lakers (Davis, Rondo: out) @ Pacers

7:30: Suns (Booker) @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)

8:30 (ESPN): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Mavericks (Kidd-Gilchrist: questionable)

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR