The NBA restart in the Walt Disney World bubble has produced some entertaining and quality basketball as teams continue to go back and forth to determine the final seeding heading into the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Lakers have already sealed their fate, earning “home court” throughout the Western Conference bracket by securing the No. 1 seed. The L.A. Clippers and Denver Nuggets will likely remain in the second and third seeds, respectively.
A matchup between Lakers and Clippers in the Western Conference Finals has been anticipated for over a year now, and it seems destined the neighboring teams will meet in the playoffs for the first time.
How the series will unfold has been a tightly debated topic among sports pundits, and Kevin Durant said that he expects the Clippers to emerge. On the Elite Media “Play for Keeps” podcast, Durant also picked the Clippers to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks to capture the franchise’s first NBA championship:
“If I had to choose — and I hate doing that [expletive] — because you never know what could happen, you saw that with us last year. But if I had to choose, I’ll go with Clippers-Bucks for the championship, and I’ll go with the Clippers. They’re just so deep. They haven’t had their whole team together at once for a long period of time yet, and that talent is just undeniable to me.
“When you have P.G. and Kawhi at the wings, that’s what you need to win is wings. You got those two at the wings, arguably the top three, top four at the wing position on one team. And then you have the two best bench scorers — well not the two best, but the best combo, they perfectly fit with the big and guard — they play off of each other well.
“And then you’ve got moving parts like a Marcus Morris, who started on other teams, Reggie Jackson, who was a starter, Landry Shamet, who is a sniper, JaMychal Green, Joakim Noah, he’s giving you solid minutes. They can go 11 deep. Zubac, too. They’ve got like 11-12 players that actually can play and you wouldn’t mind putting on the court in a playoff game. And they all want to win. Pat Bev, I forgot about Pat Bev. Their whole team can play in a playoff game.”
Before the Lakers and Clippers can potentially meet, they would have to advance through a playoff bracket that remains unsettled. Particularly at the bottom of the Western Conference.
The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in possession of the eighth seed but are yet to win a game in the bubble. The Portland Trail Blazers are within striking distance, sitting only a game back, while the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns have also entered the picture.
For the 2019-2020 season, the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams enter a playoff if they remain within four games of each other.
Suns making move up standings
As the Grizzlies have suffered injuries and losses, the Suns are undefeated in bubble play and suddenly in the discussion for the play-in tournament. Devin Booker, who honored Lakers icon Kobe Bryant this week, said the team is pleased to be 4-0 but remains focused on reaching the playoffs.
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