While the LA Clippers await their second-round opponent, teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Let’s take a look around the bubble to see what happened in the latest postseason action. As a reminder, you can click each team name for more coverage from that team site.
Babies have arrived in the bubble!
Family members are now present in the bubble, a reward for teams that made the second round of the playoffs. A few players, Paul George among them, said they wouldn’t be bringing their kids to Orlando because there isn’t much for children to do. However, other fathers thought differently, and thank goodness for the cuteness overlord.
Here’s Liam Antetokounmpo catching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Giannis’ son repping courtside ❤️ pic.twitter.com/R49AtlcOW8— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 1, 2020
And here’s Fred VanVleet seeing his two kids for the first time since June.
fred reunites with the fam in the bubble ♥️ @fredvanvleet @raptors pic.twitter.com/T3vz2rtInQ— NBA Bubble Life (@NBABubbleLife) August 31, 2020
The Bucks still appear to be in trouble.
Jimmy Butler (don’t call him James) scored 40 points for the first time in his postseason career as the Heat remain undefeated in the playoffs, while the Bucks lost the series opener for the second straight round. Milwaukee went up by 11 early, taking advantage of some sloppy play from Miami to get out on the break. But the Heat tightened up their transition defense and forced the Bucks to score in the half court. Giannis Antetokounmpo saw a wall of defenders every time he tried to get to the basket, and he only scored six points in the paint after averaging 17.5 per game during the regular season.
Miami won both regular-season matchups against Milwaukee when Butler played this year, and he was unstoppable down the stretch with 27 second-half points on 11 shot attempts. Maybe Antetokounmpo will take the challenge of guarding Butler in Game 2, and the return of Eric Bledsoe could help slow down Goran Dragic, but the Bucks did not look great, and the coaching advantage of Erik Spoelstra over Mike Budenholzer looks large.
Chris Paul is ageless.
As the president of the players union, Paul put a lot of effort into the creation of the NBA bubble. On Monday, Paul made it very clear that he is not yet ready to leave this place.
The 35-year-old point guard led the Thunder with 28 points and added seven rebounds and three assists with no turnovers in the win over the Rockets. OKC outscored Houston by 20 points while Paul was on the floor in the team’s four-point victory to force a Game 7. Houston continues to give away chances to close out this series. They were up five points with under a minute to play in Game 4 and lost. They were up six points with 4:19 remaining last night and then failed to score for another three minutes; meanwhile, Paul hit back-to-back threes and and let Robert Covington know just how good he was feeling in the moment.
My favorite moment of the playoffs so far. pic.twitter.com/eWoN47Noea— SLAM (@SLAMonline) September 1, 2020
All season long, we knew the two L.A. teams were the class of the Western Conference. They have continued to prove that in the playoffs, while four teams are each headed to Game 7 for the right to face one in the next round.
Today’s Playoff Games
|3:30 p.m.||Milwaukee||Miami||TNT||MIA 2-0|
|6:00 p.m.||Houston||Lakers||ESPN||Game 1|
More news for Tuesday:
- Rest in peace to John Thompson, the former Georgetown coach who passed away at age 78. His impact was felt well beyond the Hoyas.
- Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans won the Most Improved Player award.
- SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell dove into the Marcus Morris situation.
- Zach Lowe had some love for the Clippers role players after round one.
- The Bulls are starting their head coaching search with assistants on current playoff teams, but not the Clippers.