The Los Angeles Lakers certainly received a boost in morale after claiming their first NBA Playoffs series victory since 2012 on Saturday night, alleviating some of the discomfort the Orlando bubble’s environment has caused on a mental level.
The postseason’s fate was threatened after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Orlando Magic in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee’s actions were motivated by efforts to rekindle the push for social justice and prompted a moment of reflection for the teams remaining in the championship race whether the playoffs are not serving as a distraction to things way more important than sports.
But as Lakers guard Danny Green revealed on Friday, the mental toll the bubble is taking on those inside the Walt Disney World campus was a significant factor in why the players contemplated a premature end to the postseason.
And following the Game 5 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Alex Caruso provided an insight into the challenges the players are facing during the NBA restart. “A lot of people think when they hear the word ‘bubble’ and NBA, they think we’re kind of living the lavish life we’re used to outside of the game,” he said. “It really hasn’t been that.
“It hasn’t been terrible, I don’t want to come off as unappreciative at all, because they’ve done a lot to get it set up and done a great job. But it takes a toll on you. You’ve got a pretty confined space in a hotel room.”
Caruso added the Lakers were aware the championship run in the bubble would be unlike any other due to the unprecedented circumstances and the nature of the bubble, something other NBA players — including two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo — have emphasized.
But the guard pointed to support he receives from his family and the camaraderie of the Lakers team has tremendously helped him cope with the extra stress. “Honestly, if we didn’t have such a good group of guys, coaches, and organization that loves hanging out and being around each other, it would probably be a lot tougher,” Caruso said.
Luckily, player guests will soon be able to enter the bubble, providing a much-needed support system and bringing the craved-for sense of normality for the members of the remaining teams.
Monday was said to be the earliest date friends and family members of those already on the World Disney World campus could clear quarantine requirements and reunite with their close ones.
Green: James, Lakers didn’t try to dictate the NBA Playoffs vote
As the bubble seemed close to bursting on Wednesday and Thursday, rumors circulated that LeBron James and the Lakers were the leading force the efforts to end the playoffs and leave the bubble.
But while admitting there was an internal struggle, Green rebuked the claims and said L.A. did not seek to force any decision on other teams during the emotional meeting on Wednesday night. “We were always with the majority most of the time,” he said.
“It wasn’t like we were trying to make a decision for the league; ‘Well alright, everybody else said yes, we’re saying no.’ That’s not how it was.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!