After just one week into the bubble, the action doesn’t seem to have dwindled. The passion of the players and the intensity of the game doesn’t seem to have been lost on the court. That was not expected, but now, it doesn’t seem like the games are played behind closed doors at all.
Always up in the mix, postseason seeds. Matchups also have to be created. The No. 9 race in the west will potentially be the picture finish for the chance to play No. 8 for the last playoff spot in a play-in series.
Below are some early Orlando winners and losers, according to CBS Sports.
Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis has egged the Lakers loss to Toronto, but he has recorded 76 points in both wins over Clippers and Jazz. In the Western Conference, the Lakers scored the No. 1 seed, with LeBron James not yet averaging 20 bubble points. Dion Waiters looks impressive. Kyle Kuzma plays decent shots and safety. Everything for purple and gold to be positive for.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers are 2-1 in the bubble, and on Tuesday night, they are in a massive triumph over Houston. When the seed games were to be fired simultaneously, Portland will have a play-in series with Memphis during the postseason. They have three tough games, but they manage their destinies, Denver, the Clippers, and Philly They will ask for anything.
So they’re good. Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, especially Nurkic, are back and play awesomely. In giant cases, the Carmelo Anthony was burning enormous shots. Then, of course, there are men cooking Damian Lillard then CJ McCollum. It’s a dangerous band. This is far too dangerous for Lakers in a potential first-round series to feel completely confident.
The Suns were deemed a virtual non-factor for the playoff chase before the game began in the bubble. Many wondered if they had even been invited. So they go to Orlando 3-0, and they’re only 3 Memphis games out from No. 8. Above all, they are just one back game in the Losing column of No. 9 Portland. You liked Houston on Tuesday night to beat Portland, but not everyone will go your way.
Yet the seed number 9 and the promise of a play-in game for the last playoff spot are still open. San Antonio and New Orleans are both above the Suns, too, though. It is massive from where Phoenix starts, and their style of playing shows positive signs for the next year and beyond.
Yet the Suns’ slouches are not pounding. Since the Wizards knocked out the Mavericks and Clippers they beat, the latter came on Tuesday thanks to Devin Booker with a Kobe-like game-winner.
The Grizzlies have started 0-3 in the bubble and, worse, they’ve lost Jaren Jackson Jr. to a torn-up meniscus, a crippling tragedy for a star and a franchise which must be as positive as any young team. The good thing is that Memphis already has the seed No. 8, but their chances for error have fallen to almost zero if they are to reach the postseason.
With the third-best record in the league, the Raptors came into the blow and went 2-0 in Orlando to overpower the Lakers before they dropped the heat.
A lot was said about the Heat and Celtics, both who want the No. 3 spot, like that, will put them on the other side of the Milwaukee pool, at what point will we start worrying about a potential secondary contest, because the Raptors are just as frightening?
On last-second Shake Milton 3 points, The Sixers squeaked out a marginally split match against San Antonio, so what would the Sixers think of a last-second Shake Milton 3-pointer? It’s not bashing the Spurs, but we also want to put the Sixers in the company of real rivals based on talent, because what they do is not play reliably at this stage.
Notwithstanding Joel Embiid’s 41 points and 21 boards, Philadelphia dropped his bubble opener to the Pacers. When he was at the court, the Sixers were 21 +, but when he was off, they were 17 +. It was meant to keep the Sixers alive as Embiid went to the bench in Al Horford, but with this squad, the same old stories keep on playing.