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BBNBA: It’s a great day to be an 8-seed

(Lakers.com | Joe Murphy)

(Lakers.com | Joe Murphy)

Good morning, folks. I’m going to stop pretending that anything about this league is predictable right now. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.

RECAP

1-seeds upset in Game 1

Tuesday wasn’t a good day to be the top seed of your respective conference: both the Los Angles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks lost its opening-round matchups to eight-seeds, in rather embarrassing fashion I should add. Let’s start with the Bucks falling to the Orlando Magic by a final score of 122-110. And when I say “falling”, I really mean utterly destroyed and dominated. The Magic controlled this game from practically the opening tip, made life hell for Giannis Antetokounmpo, and watched as its star player Nikola Vucevic dropped a playoff-career high 35 points. It was a dream start for a hometown Magic team that many–myself included–predicted to bow out via broom and dustpan.

Orlando was short-handed, too, playing without key contributors Aaron Gordon (hamstring), Michael Carter-Williams (foot), and Jonathan Isaac (knee), while second-leading scorer Evan Fournier didn’t hit his first bucket until late in the fourth quarter. Despite all of this, they held Milwaukee to 42 percent shooting and prevented the reigning MVP from connecting on a field goal over the final 11 minutes of in-game action.

What was most concerning had to be the less-than-ideal outing from Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe, whose postseason malfeasances have been well-documented over the last two seasons. In Game 1, the former Wildcat posted 15 points and five assists on 5-11 shooting, but was inconsistent on both ends of the floor throughout the game.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, it was a similar story to that of the Bucks. Against the Portland Damian Lillards, Anthony Davis struggled heavily, shooting just 8-24 from the field and missing all five of his shots from deep. He still finished with 28 points thanks to a 12-17 mark from the free-throw line but was forcing bad, long-range shots on offense and looking generally out of rhythm.

Wenyen Gabriel received the surprise start for the Blazers despite playing in just two seeding games. He filled in for the injured Zach Collins and provided enough energy on the court for all 10 players. He ended up playing 15 minutes and was tasked with guarding Anthony Davis early on, performing well within his role. Gabriel finished with four points, three rebounds, and three assists. He picked up four fouls before the first-half could even end.

Both the Lakers and Bucks went 3-5 during the eight seeding games, and that poor play appears to have spilled over into the playoffs through one outing. While it’s not anything I would get too hyped up over, the Bubble atmosphere has proven that anything is possible right now. Homecourt advantage is not real and the lower-seeds are abusing it.

I would like to point out that, last season, the Orlando Magic beat the Toronto Raptors (the eventual NBA Champions) in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs before ultimately losing the next four in a row. So I’m not saying there’s a precedence for Milwaukee to make a Finals run, but I’m also not not saying that.

Rockets trounce Thunder without Westbrook, Heat runs over Pacers down the stretch

Even without Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets managed to secure a 123-108 Game 1 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden poured in 37 points for Houston as his squad cruised to an easy win that was never in doubt from the second-quarter on. The Rockets led by 16 at the half and 20-plus throughout the final period.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s second-ever playoff round didn’t exactly get off to a hot start for the Thunder, as he shot 2-8 from the field to make up his nine points and four rebounds. In fact, it was a struggle across the board for former Kentucky players, as Hamidou Diallo shot 2-6 in 16 minutes while Nerlens Noel added just two points and one rebound in his seven minutes.

However, the two BBNBA-ers from the Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, were shining lights in their Game 1 outings. In Herro’s playoff debut, the sharpshooter dropped 15 points on 5-9 shooting. For Adebayo, this is his second playoff appearance, and he contributed an efficient 17 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists as Miami broke away down the stretch against the Indiana Pacers for a 113-101 win.

Other notes from the Bubble

Series standings

EAST

(8) Magic lead (1) Bucks 1-0
(4) Heat lead (5) Pacers 1-0

WEST

(8) Trail Blazers lead (1) Lakers 1-0
(4) Rockets lead (5) Thunder 1-0

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (LAL)93-101 L vs. POR288-24 (0-5)111221-2039
Bam Adebayo (MIA)113-101 W vs. IND177-14 (0-0)106030+2334
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)110-122 L vs. ORL155-11 (1-5)25112-827
Tyler Herro (MIA)113-101 W vs. IND155-9 (1-5)34102+633
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)108-123 L vs. HOU92-8 (1-3)41011-335
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)108-123 L vs. HOU72-6 (1-4)31001-614
Wenyen Gabriel (POR)100-93 W @ LAL42-2 (0-0)33010+1215
Nerlens Noel (OKC)108-123 L vs. HOU21-3 (0-0)10010-117
Rajon Rondo (LAL)93-101 L vs. PORDNP-Thumb----------------

TODAY IN THE BUBBLE

1:30 (NBA TV): Nets @ Raptors

4:00 (TNT): Jazz @ Nuggets (Murray)

6:30 (TNT): 76ers @ Celtics (Kanter) 

9:00 (TNT): Mavericks (Kidd-Gilchrist) @ Clippers (Patterson)

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

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

24 Comments for BBNBA: It’s a great day to be an 8-seed



  1. Buffalo Cat
    10:26 am August 19, 2020 Permalink

    Any championship won this year in the bubble needs to have a very large asterisk next to it.
    This is more like an AAU tournament than an NBA season.



    • AcceptanceNow
      1:34 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah. No home court advantage, etc. It’s odd for sure.



    • UKFanSC
      2:40 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      It’s also devolved into 2 hours of BLM drivel that many fans are sick of. Professional sports is no place for politics. Fans should not be forced to wallow in social justice to watch a damned basketball game. Kneel and whine on your own time.



    • IrishCat
      2:55 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      I keep hearing this, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. The best teams on the planet are playing it out for a title. Where and when are irrelevant. If you’ve ever competed, you know these games count. No asterisk necessary.



    • PensacolaCat
      5:06 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      The only thing that is ridiculous is YOUR comment. There will be a major asterisk next to any champion, and by the AAU level of basketball being played, the players know this as well.



    • AcceptanceNow
      3:15 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      This is “their time.” To suggest they kneel and whine on their own time misses the point. I think the choice we as consumers have is to watch, or not watch.



  2. UKFaninCO
    10:32 am August 19, 2020 Permalink

    Who cares!



    • Chacosrule
      11:55 am August 19, 2020 Permalink

      Have you looked at the TV ratings? It’s so bad. I can’t imagine why (sarcasm).



    • UKFaninCO
      12:20 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      Say NO to identity authoritarians and Marxist. UnAmerican to the core.



    • BlueVortex
      3:02 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      Echoing UKFaninCO…Who cares!..Who cares!!



  3. light my fire
    12:24 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

    maybe if lebron was more worried about playing basketball last night instead of trying to make political statements with a hat they would have won.



    • AcceptanceNow
      1:34 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      I’m grateful he’s able to use his platform to bring awareness towards such an ongoing and pressing matter; he has already stated publicly that the intention of the Bubble / games this season is to continue to shed light on the issue of Racial Justice. Good for him keeping his word–in my opinion.

      I’ll be curious to see if he can “figure it out” in Game 2 and how the Lakers try to stop Portland’s 3 point barrage.



    • UKFanSC
      2:33 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      LeBron is apparently the male Oprah. Whether he knows it or not he is presiding over the destruction of the NBA. The people who pay his salary are the ones he is attempting to shame. Those kneels will soon be used for praying for survival.



    • AcceptanceNow
      3:14 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      I think we’ve reached “Chicken or Egg” scenario. Both players and owners need each other (not so much for survival, but to continue earning ridiculous amounts of money to play sport). Asking one (the players) to kneel so the others (the owners) can continue to benefit from the players’ performance is unreasonable during these times. Surely the owners and league know that the NBA brand stands for something globally. It’s not simply about supporting one team over another; it’s about supporting the right for all lives to “matter” and for justice to be brought against those who commit crimes–even if the perpetrators happen to be officers of the law. Sure, basketball and all sport can provide necessary relief to us all during the best of times (and certainly these are not the best of times). Likewise, basketball players, owners, and all associated with them can recognize there is more to this time than just “who wins the title.” It’s about what “it will all look like” decades from now; the players, by exercising their rights as human beings (not simply paid athletes) are making a statement: we don’t like the way things look today and we want to do what we can to affect generational change.



  4. light my fire
    2:36 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

    his platform is all wrong. He wants justice, then the AG in KY is a black guy. Its a process to get all the facts and info before court and arrest. Lebron just wants justice immediately before facts can be set out. Lebron wants the wild west, jury to say guilty and them execute them.



    • AcceptanceNow
      3:32 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      This is his “platform.” My interpretation of that is that he has access to millions of viewers and is therefore able to effectively reach them to deliver his message. Now, you may disagree with his message, but his platform could not be any better.

      Re swift / immediate justice: How swift and immediate was Breonna Taylor’s death? When police entered her apartment and (eventually) pulled the trigger of their guns , thereby filling Ms. Taylor’s body with bullets (how many were there?) at an average speed of 1,700 miles per hour, I’d call THAT immediate. As in, she likely lost her life immediately. What LeBron and others are calling for is neither immediate or swift, by comparison; they’re simply calling for justice to be served and for the perpetrators who committed murder to be held accountable for their actions. Certainly I would want that for myself, my wife, my family, my friends–I’m assuming anyone reading this blog would want the same thing.



    • UKFaninCO
      5:49 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

      The need for social justice is a myth, the need to fix black on black crime is not. The data proves that point. Facts are not optional.



    • AcceptanceNow
      1:03 pm August 20, 2020 Permalink

      Absolutely correct, facts are not optional and data doesn’t lie. To that end, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 31 fatal shootings per million of the population as of July 2020. This is per Statista.com.

      You can visit the site yourself by clicking here:
      https://www.statista.com/statistics/1123070/police-shootings-rate-ethnicity-us/



    • UKFaninCO
      5:15 pm August 20, 2020 Permalink

      Really, 6% of the population committing 53% of violent crimes….who should the police shoot?



    • AcceptanceNow
      1:17 pm August 20, 2020 Permalink

      Whereas Whites experience 13 fatal shootings per million of the population as of July 2020. Therefore African American’s are 58% more likely to lose their lives at the hands of Police Officers than Whites are. That certainly calls for (and now demands) Social and Racial Justice. I know I’d want that for any of my loved ones and can assume anyone reading this blog would demand the same for their loved ones given such extreme imbalance in the statistics.



    • AcceptanceNow
      6:41 pm August 20, 2020 Permalink

      Nice. And there you have it–the Police shouldn’t shoot anyone. They should, rather, apprehend those who are breaking the law and allow the courts to decide their fate. Likewise, when the Police break the law by shooting (and killing) an unarmed, defenseless person (citizen of the United States no less) they too should be apprehended and held accountable for their actions in the same courts of law.



  5. light my fire
    3:02 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

    Its a bad time now for sure.



  6. light my fire
    3:03 pm August 19, 2020 Permalink

    I havent heard Lebron complain about looters, riots, or the cops being shot at or shot.