Five biggest losers of the 2020 bubble’s NBA playoffs
"The NBA playoffs were a positive experience for some. Plenty of others left earlier than they’d hoped with a dejected spirit weighing them down.
Having previously broken down the winners of the most unique undertaking in NBA history, it’s now time to move to the loser’s bracket of the 2020 NBA playoffs.
Only one true winner exists in any NBA season. That’s the team left with the Larry O’Brien trophy. While silver linings do still exist in the form of breakout performances or unexpected runs, they come in short supply. By season’s end, more are disappointed in their efforts than not.
The premise certainly applies to the results of these playoffs, maybe more so this season than ever before. The bubble’s neutral setting closed the advantage gap between matchups, creating even greater opportunities for upsets, of which we saw several, including the fall of two of the four best records in the NBA.
The disappointments that appear in the following slides come in varying forms. Championship expectations fell short. Bright futures became a touch darker.
Given the sacrifices these players, coaches and teams made by leaving their families to sequester on Disney’s campus, it’d be nice if they could all leave on a higher note than what many did. That didn’t happen and the future ramifications could be costly."Houston Rockets Face Masks
"Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler went off for 40 points in 36 minutes of play on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks, securing his team a Game 1 victory in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
He became only the third-ever member of the Heat to drop 40 in a playoff game, putting him in excellent company amidst former Heatles LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and made headlines after disclosing he didn’t invite any family to the NBA bubble, calling it strictly a “business trip.”
(Virgos will Virgo.)
But despite Butler’s dominating offense and strong work ethic both being a thing of beauty, they aren’t the sole reason that Miami came out on top.
New best friend Goran Dragic scored 27 flashy points of his own, shooting a whopping 60 percent from the field (including 40 percent from downtown) and knocking down all seven of his free throws. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists, hitting everyone with a friendly reminder of what it truly means to be a well-rounded point guard.
Bam Adebayo also carried his weight (all 250-plus lbs of it and then some), collecting an impressive 17 rebounds, alongside 12 points, six assists and two steals. And perhaps even more importantly, he held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 18 points and 10 rebounds – a modest statline for the former MVP."Los Angeles Clippers Face Masks
Enes Kanter traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in three-team trade with Memphis Grizzlies
"The Boston Celtics finally completed their draft night trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, but with a twist. Boston will send Enes Kanter, who recently opted in for just over $5 million for the 2020-21 season, to the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team deal.
The deal will also see Boston send the draft rights to Desmond Bane to Memphis. Bane was drafted with the 30th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Celtics will reportedly receive two future second round picks from Memphis. The Grizzlies will also acquire Mario Hezonja from Portland.
Kanter played one season in Boston and averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He played 16.9 minutes per game, mostly as a backup to Daniel Theis.
For his part, Kanter seems excited to be headed back to Portland:
In 23 games with the Trail Blazers at the end of the 2018-19 season, Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds. He then started for Portland during the 2019 playoffs after Jusuf Nurkic was injured.
Boston will create a trade exception of $4.767 million in this deal, as they are taking no salary back for Kanter.
This deal, combined with the recent opt out decision by Gordon Hayward, has Boston well below the luxury tax. That gives Boston plenty of wiggle room to use the full Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception of $9.258 million, as well as possibly the Bi-Annual Exception of $3.623 million.
In addition, the increased flexibility creates room for a potential sign and trade involving Gordon Hayward. That would allow the Celtics to take back additional salary in a deal. Or if Hayward re-signs in Boston, the Celtics could still have the ability to use the full MLE without worry of crossing over the hard cap.
Because this transaction between Boston, Memphis and Portland is taking place at the tail end of the 2019-20 league year, it is now official. Free agent negotiations open at 6:00 PM ET on Friday evening, and then the league year changes over on Sunday, November 21 at 12:01 PM ET."Washington Wizards Face Masks
"As the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers face off in the second round of the NBA playoffs, here is a full breakdown of the series."
"James Harden and Russell Westbrook versus LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Small-ball versus a group of giants. Two high-scoring offenses and two of the league’s top 10 defenses. This NBA playoffs matchup in the second round between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers has everything an NBA fan could ask for.
While this series between the Rockets and Lakers is sure to provide tons of excitement, the two teams had very different experiences in the first round.
After losing Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers many people thought the Lakers might be in trouble, including Charles Barkley who said they would get swept. But James and Davis had other plans. The duo took over the series, putting up incredible numbers, to help the Lakers win the next four games and make quick work of Portland.
On the other hand, it appeared as if the Rockets would cruise past the OKC Thunder after they got out to a 2-0 series lead. But things quickly changed and OKC pushed Houston to the brink of elimination, forcing a Game 7 in which the Rockets needed every single second of to come out on top.
The two different paths the Lakers and Rockets took to get to this point makes this series even more intriguing. The Lakers are fully rested but also have gone six days without playing a game that could hurt them. Meanwhile, the Rockets are still gassed from their first-round series but the fact that the series went seven could serve as a benefit because it let Westbrook get his legs back under him after missing four straight games.
This is just one of the many storylines to follow during this series. Continue reading to for a breakdown of a key matchup, key questions, and predictions for this second-round series"
Five biggest losers of the 2020 bubble’s NBA playoffs