Week 1 in the Bubble has wrapped up, and we’ve had some cracking games to get us back into some NBA action!
Lakers vs. Clippers got us underway, and as expected it went down to the final shot between two great rivals.
Toronto knocking off the Lakers proved that this team has what it takes to defend their crown and aren’t going anywhere without a fight.
So far, the game of the Bubble went down between Houston and Dallas (not one for the purists), with Houston clawing back to force OT, producing a 153-149 win!
There’s been plenty of surprise packets in the opening week, and an All-Star Five from the opening week has been put together.
1. PG: Chris Paul
Chris Paul wasn’t even supposed to last until the opening game of the regular season with OKC, let alone carry this young group to a potential Top 4 finish out West.
CP3 has been vintage in the bubble, with a big win over their division rivals Utah in their opening game. They were extremely unlucky to lose to Denver in OT (another division rival), but proved far too good in a big upset over the Lakers Thursday morning.
OKC are only a 0.5 game back from Houston sitting in 4th, and CP3 is a big reason why this team is every chance of making some noise in the playoffs.
2. SG: Devin Booker
The Suns were considered an afterthought coming into the bubble, a team just coming in to make up the numbers. Tell Devin Booker that!
Booker has the Suns 2.5 games back of 8th and produced one of the great game-winners over the heavily favoured LA Clippers. Just something about Paul George contesting game-winners….
Booker has produced games of 27 points v the Wizards, 30 points v the Mavs, and a big-time 35 points against the Clippers, in what was definitely their biggest win of the season.
They still face an uphill battle to force a play in-game to make the playoffs, but having Booker putting up these kinds of numbers gives them every chance!
3. SF: Gary Trent Jr.
Most would say who? This man has been ballin’ out of his mind in the bubble, knocking down 3 balls for fun.
Trent has been enormous for Portland off the bench, providing a huge scoring punch, and playing some big minutes late in games.
He’s stretching the floor for the likes of Dame and CJ to do what they like, averaging 18 PPG off the bench in their 3 games, and will need to continue to provide this kind of energy for a bench that’s only really running 2-3 deep at times.
Every game is just about a must-win game for Portland, and they certainly played that way against Houston and Memphis (as well as coming back from 24 down v Boston only to just fall short).
If you’re the Lakers, you do not want to see this team in the 1st round.
4. PF: TJ Warren
There’s no doubt Warren is the bubble’s MVP after Week 1.
After coming out and torching the 76ers to the tune of 53 points in his first game, he’s backed that up with 34 points over the Wizards, then another 32 points against the Magic. It’s not just the fact that his numbers have been off the charts, it’s the efficiency that he’s producing at. He’s lights out!
This Indiana team was given little chance to hold on to their Top 4-5 slot in the East with the injury to Sabonis, but they’re proving everyone wrong, starting 3-0 thanks largely to the incredible play from Warren.
5. C: Jusuf Nurkic
Welcome back Jusuf Nurkic! After one of the more gruesome leg injuries at the back end of last season, didn’t this Blazers team need their brilliant European big back just in time for a playoff push.
Nurkic has been dominant since returning to play, averaging 22 points and 12.5 rebounds per game throughout their first 3 games.
He was huge in their most recent win over Houston, producing 18 and 19 on the night, in a big win over a bitter rival (Dame and Russ don’t really like each other a whole lot…)
It’s great to have NBA Basketball back on our screens, with some great games to come over the weekend.
Lakers vs. Rockets on Friday, Toronto vs. Boston on Saturday and Dallas vs. Milwaukee on Sunday to name a few. Let me know in the comments below who you're siding with.
It’s going to be another cracking weekend of hoops! 🏀