Bubble Ball: The Happy Parts of Quarantine (Part 1)


With the resumption of NBA basketball, quarantine becomes a little more bearable

For the last six months, most media and news outlets have been telling us about how bad everything is. Everywhere you turn a reporter or celebrity tells you that 2020 has been the worst year ever. And while the circumstances and events of 2020 have certainly not been ideal, there are still some positive things to focus on. In this series, “The Lion’s Roar” will look at some things that have made the last six months a little more bearable. One of those things is the continuation of NBA basketball.

On June fourth, it was announced that NBA basketball would return after its long hiatus. And, while games would be looking a lot different, at least we had some new, fresh, basketball to watch. The games, which have all been played in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, began on July 30th, and just finished on October 11th with The Los Angeles Lakers being crowned NBA Champions. Although the games have been played without fans and in a completely different and odd environment, there have still been some tremendous moments. So, without further ado, here are the top five moments from the NBA restart in Walt Disney World, Orlando.

5. Dame Delivers- After many ups and downs, the NBA restart proved to be a blessing for the Portland Trailblazers, who were not in the playoffs, and very injured throughout the regular season. And with a full roster and a now great supporting cast, superstar Damian Lillard took over. Lillard willed his team into the playoffs, winning six out of their eight bubble games, and averaging 38 points and 10 assists while also winning the “bubble MVP”. He made his dominance even more clear when he had 51 points, 61 points, and 42 points in back to back to back games. Which were the most important games of the season.

4. The Bubble Suns- Before the NBA restart, the Phoenix Suns were considered one of the worst teams in basketball. When the season was cut short, they were the 13th best team in the Western Conference (each conference has 15 teams). But, due to the fact that no team had played out their entire season, the NBA wanted to give teams that were somewhat close a chance to battle it out for a playoff spot. Out of the 22 teams that were let into the bubble, the Suns were the worst. But that didn’t stop them from making history. The Suns won all eight of their seeding games (each team played 8 games before the playoffs to determine standings) and went from 13th in the West to 10th. Not only were they the only team to go undefeated, but they were favored by many to go winless. Lead by young star Devin Booker, the Suns put on a show that will not soon be forgotten.

3. Jimmy Buckets- There is no bigger stage in professional sports than the NBA finals, and with his team down 2-0, the Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler showed the world who he was. Butler had a stat line of 40 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds while willing his team to a win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only was this a career game for Butler, but it was one of the greatest games in finals history. With his 40-point triple-double, Butler became one of three players all-time to have 40/10/10 in an NBA finals game.

2. Luka Legend- The playoffs are where legends are made, and this second-year stud certainly seems to be on his way to becoming an NBA legend and all-time great. The best moment in the NBA bubble so far came in Round one of the playoffs as the Dallas Mavericks faced off with the heavy favorite Los Angeles Clippers. On the verge of facing a nearly insurmountable 3-1 deficit, Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks came through with an all-time great performance. Against one of the top NBA defenses, the second-year phenomenon put up 43 points, 13 assists, 17 rebounds and the buzzer-beating, game-winning, step-back three-pointer. Oh yeah, and he did all of this on a bad ankle. Every NBA legend has what seems to be their arrival game. Luka had his. It was one of the best games we’ve seen in a very long time.

1. The 3-1 Nuggets- Before this postseason, only 11 teams in NBA history had overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the playoffs. But this year, the Denver Nuggets did it twice. In back to back series, the Denver Nuggets were tied 1-1 before losing two straight games. They would then go on to win three games in a row in both series. Their dynamic duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić both put up dominant numbers in their six do or die games, cementing a playoff legacy that will be remembered for generations as one of the greatest playoff feats of all time.