Julia Barton ® Staff Writer |
An unorthodox season for the NBA is currently taking place in a strictly controlled area known as the Bubble.
Players are tested for the coronavirus daily and are not allowed access to the outside world as they stay semi-quarantined in hotels and the arena located in Disney World. For the first time in NBA history the playoffs start in August, and plan on going late into fall due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
In a riveting Game 6 taking place Aug. 30, Jamal Murray led his Denver Nuggets to a win, with his second 50-point game of the series. Utah Jazz guard Donavan Mitchell was visibly distraught after the loss despite also scoring 50 points for the second time in this playoff matchup.
This is the second Game 7 that happened in the first round of the playoffs in the NBA Orlando Bubble. In a close game the Denver Nuggets barely pulled ahead in the last minute beating the Jazz by two points with an outcome of 80-78 on Tuesday. The Denver Nuggets will advance to the next round and will face the Clippers.
Down south, the Houston Rockets dropped a close game six to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder was led by 16-year NBA veteran Chris Paul. They’ve made it to an elimination game seven in the first round of the playoffs despite being given a mere .5% chance to make the playoffs by NBA analysts back in October. If the Rockets pull off the win against the Thunder, it is predicted they would give the LA Lakers a tougher series in the second round.
“I believe that the James Harden and Russell Westbrook combo in Houston can keep up and compete better with the LeBron James-led Lakers and hopefully make a series worth watching,” said Gabe Bassett, a freshman basketball player at Bethany Lutheran college.
In the Eastern conference, the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks lost the first game of the second round to the fifth-seeded Miami Heat. The Heat, after already upsetting the higher-seeded Pacers in the first round in four games, are led by superstar Jimmy Butler and rookie Tyler Herro.
Up north, the defending NBA Champions Toronto Raptors are down 0-2 to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics came off a hot series against the Philadelphia 76ers where they won four games consecutively, pushing them onto the next round. As expected the Raptors will try to bounce back behind their strong defensive core, and compete in this series as it goes deeper into September.
Although the NBA is taking drastic protocols to keep the players and fans as safe as possible, the games are still continuing to give basketball fans entertainment and a bit of normalcy during these unprecedented times.
Header photo: Members of the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards kneel before the start of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)