It’s unbelievable that it’s already August. Also unbelievable that we are watching the 2020 NBA season in August.
The NBA has returned after 141 days of being shut-down including 22/30 teams and 330 players fighting for a 2020 NBA Championship that will be one to remember. Since the NBA has resumed its season in the bubble it has been far from boring.
The highlight of the return was the race for the 8th seed in the West. The Pelicans were unable to turn the corner and clinch a spot, and Zion Williamson’s playing restrictions didn’t help. The Spurs didn’t have all of their players and for the first time in 22 years, they are not in the playoffs.
The Suns were the darlings of the bubble and were undefeated. But because of their lower record during the beginning of the year, they were knocked out of the play-in game for the 8th seed contention.
What is a play-in game you ask? For the first time in NBA history (that among many other things), the two teams with the closest records and tied for the 8th seed will play a battle for the 8th spot.
In this case, the Blazers and the Grizzlies will play an intense game on Saturday Aug. 15 at 2:30 ET for said 8th spot. Currently, the Blazers are in 8th and the Grizzlies are in 8.5.
Here’s the catch, if the Blazers win Saturday morning they claim the 8th spot. If the Blazers lose, they have to play the Grizzlies a second time on Sunday.
If the Grizzlies win on Sunday they claim the 8th spot. Mind you Grizzlies have maintained the 8th seed since before the NBA shut-down. Simple breakdown:
Blazer win = Blazers 8th place. Blazer loss = game two on Sunday. The winner of the 8th seed will take on LeBron James and the Lakers for round one of the playoffs.
Damian Lillard returned with a vengeance after missing two free-throws for the win and a three-pointer to tie on Saturday, Aug. 8 against the LA Clippers.
Headlines discussing Lillards ability to close circulated the internet, and Patrick Beverly and Paul George mocked the same.
This fueled Lillard’s fire. He dropped 141 points the three games following, and the Blazers beat the Nets on Thursday night by one point in an intense game. For the Nets another win would’ve been nice to have, but they’ve already clinched the 7th spot in the East.
I’m expecting the Blazers to win against the Grizzlies and gain a rest day on Sunday before playoffs begin on Monday, Aug 17, because they need it. CJ McCollum has been playing with (basically) a broken back and Lillard has been non-stop. So for this season and this season only, #GoBlazers.