NBA Playoffs well underway with a few surprises.

The Covid 19 Hub in Orlando Florida is throwing up a few surprises. Some of the big names are either not performing or are out injured (Simmons). We will provide a full update next week. Meanwhile what’s happening with the LA Lakers who definitely seem off-song… ?

It started with a Dame, but LeBron’s tormentors are far from a one-man team: US View

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The NBA playoffs are underway and there has already been a few upsets that have cast doubt over how two league heavyweights will move forward.

The Lakers seem to have carried their bubble form into the playoffs and Damian Lillard is still firing for the Blazers.

But he’s not the only one and the trust Portland have in each other could be just what Milwaukee are missing at the moment.

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LILLARD IS HEATING UP BUT TRUST IS KEY TO BLAZERS’ SUCCESS

While the Bucks are still trying to figure out how to free up Giannis, the Blazers are thriving off the back of always finding the open man.

That is the perspective of The Athletic’s Jason Quick, who says Portland’s greatest strength is not only superstar Damian Lillard but also their ability to trust anyone in the line-up to make the game-winning shot.

“While Damian Lillard (34 points) was again timely and impactful, and CJ McCollum (21 points) and Jusuf Nurkic (16 points, 15 rebounds) did their part, what tickled Stotts about the Game 1 upset was the details in how and why the Blazers won,” he wrote.

“The biggest shots of the game came from Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. in the final minutes. Anthony had been off all game, missing eight of his 10 shots. And Trent had gone 1-for-7, twice hitting the side of the backboard on 3-point attempts.

“But with the game on the line, their teammates trusted them to take 3-pointers, and like they have all throughout the Orlando restart, Anthony and Trent Jr. trusted their preparation. Anthony’s 3 with 2:32 left pushed the Blazers lead to 95-89. Later, after the Lakers drew within 95-93, Trent Jr. hit a 3 with 1:15 left.”

The Oregon Live’s Aaron Fentress agreed that while Lillard is getting all the attention, the confidence in each other powered the Blazers to victory in the first game.

“Carmelo Anthony’s shooting touch was off. Gary Trent Jr. had been clanking shots all night,” he wrote.

“For the Blazers, it all comes down to trust and a belief in one another to make big plays when it matters most. On Tuesday, it was Anthony and Trent who got it done despite their struggles.”

“That trust is what makes the Blazers so dangerous. How does an opposing team defend Portland late in games when it often doesn’t care which player takes the biggest shots late in games?”

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IS IT PANIC STATIONS FOR THE LAKERS ALREADY?

“It’s one game”.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel declared it’s not panic stations at the number one seed in the West after Thursday’s 100-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The problem is, this “one game” for the Lakers and LeBron James is symptomatic of their time in the NBA bubble, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli wrote.

“The way the Lakers played fit perfectly with the way they played the seeding games in the bubble,”

“Their shooting struggled — they missed their first eight three-point attempts and ultimately finished making only five of 32 three-pointers.”

According to the NBA’s tracking data, 27 of the Lakers’ 35 threes on Thursday were classified as either open or wide open.

They were able to execute on just two of their 16 ‘wide open’ shots.

The Lakers have struggled to get their offence going at Disneyland and NBC Sports’ Dylan Mickanen said the trend will continue without better spacing.

“The Trail Blazers will pack the paint with rim protectors and send help at LeBron and Davis on the block, and force the Lakers subpar supporting cast make outside shots,” he wrote.

So yes, this is just one game for the Lakers, problem is we’ve seen this all before.

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BUCKS’ GIANNIS PROBLEM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

If the Bucks keep pounding Giannis Antetokounmpo into the wall, they invariably should be expecting the same results, according to Bucks beat reporter Matt Velazquez.

“The Bucks know, basically all the time what teams are going to do,” he said on The Milwaukee Bucks podcast.

“They’re going to sink, they’re going to clog the paint, they’re going to be make it hard for Giannis to get to the hoop.

“But they couldn’t do anything about it.

“They couldn’t pass well enough, they didn’t shoot early enough in the shot clock at times, not finding the open man.

“That’s the head-scratching stuff.

“Why are they not sticking to the plan or working harder to try and get a better shot?”

Anteokounmpo’s All-Star partner Khris Middleton had just 14 points, while Brook Lopez’s five points and four rebounds looked embarrassing in comparison to opposing big man Nikola Vucevic’s 35 points and 14 rebounds.

Speaking of Vucevic it was clear that he would be Orlando’s man in offence but Velazquez said the Bucks failed to shut him down.

“You know what the Magic are going to do,” Velazquez said.

“You know they’re going to go to Nikola Vucevic. He’s an All-Star calibre player for a reason. He’s the best player they have.

“Of course they’re going to feed him, of course they’re going to play through him. The Bucks never had a way of figuring how to slow him down.”

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PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE (AEST)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MILWAUKEE BUCKS (1) – (8) ORLANDO MAGIC

  • Game 2: 3am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 3am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 3.30am Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

TORONTO RAPTORS (2) – (7) BROOKLYN NETS

  • Game 3: 3.30am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 8.30am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

BOSTON CELTICS (3) – (6) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

  • Game 3: 8.30am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 3am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

INDIANA PACERS (4) – MIAMI HEAT (5)

  • Game 2: 3am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 5.30am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 8.30am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

WESTERN CONFERENCE (AEST)

LOS ANGELES LAKERS (1) – (8) PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

  • Game 2: 11am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 10.30am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 11am Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (2) – (7) DALLAS MAVERICKS

  • Game 2: 11am Thursday, August 20
  • Game 3: 11am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 5am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

DENVER NUGGETS (3) – (6) UTAH JAZZ

  • Game 3: 6am Saturday, August 22
  • Game 4: 11am Monday, August 24
  • Game 5: TBD, August 26
  • Game 6: TBD, August 28
  • Game 7: TBD, August 30

HOUSTON ROCKETS (4) – (5) OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

  • Game 2: 5.30am Friday, August 21
  • Game 3: 8am Sunday, August 23
  • Game 4: 6am, Tuesday, August 25
  • Game 5: TBD, August 27
  • Game 6: TBD, August 29
  • Game 7: TBD, August 31

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Source: foxsports.com.au

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