If the NBA cares about competitive intensity, basketball purity, and straight up jarring, jaw dropping highlights, then the league will do whatever it requires in order to make sure that the two teams that are playing on Saturday (and Sunday hopefully) are the two hottest teams in the NBA Orlando Bubble:
The Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers.
And just so I can add another dramatic gap in this paragraph, I want to highlight the two most exciting players in the bubble:
Devin Booker and Damian Lillard.
Apologies to the other teams vying for playoff spots.
I’m from Tennessee. I love Ja Morant. So pardon my unscrupulous take, but while Memphis may have the best bbq, their basketball team is pretty shitty right now.
And who really wants to see the Demar Derozan led San Antonio Spurs?
No offense but….Yuck.
Nah, give me the heavy hitters. Let’s do a quick deep dive.
Bubble Stats: 31.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists per game
There has not been a player that is more responsible for facilitating their team success in the bubble than Devin Booker. The Suns have not lost a single game in the bubble yet, currently with a scorching 7-0 record. Booker has scored at least 35 points in four of the seven bubble games.
Oh and don’t forget this clutch bucket over the outreached fingers of Paul George, one of the best wing defenders in the league.
Booker is a straight-up dog and there is no way that he would back down from any competition. Plus his light seems to shine the brightest under pressure, which reminds me of another guy….
Bubble Stats: 37.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 9.3 assists per game
The only person that has gotten more bubble clout than Booker is this man here. Leading the Trailblazers with a 5-2 bubble record, Damian Lillard is the ultimate assassin. If you dare try to impugn his resume, he’ll just drop 51 and 61 points on you in back to back games.
CC: Skip Bayless
Make no mistake, this is not a veneer despite what Mr. Bayless, Patrick Beverly, and others may tell you. Lillard might be the closest thing to Kobe Bryant that we have seen in terms of his killer mentality, and weaponizing every negative comment and ounce of criticism thrown his way.
Real NBA fans should all be on their knees praying to the basketball gods above that we get this match-up made in Heaven.
A fight for the ages.
This is the heavyweight fight we were all promised back in February. Yeah remember the world before COVID-19? The world that Deontay Wilder disappointed all of us with that piss poor performance against Tyson Fury?
Well, Booker vs. Lillard is the apology.
This is eerily reminescent of 2013, when Kobe single-handedly pushed the Lakers to the playoffs with heroic performance after heroic performance, before ultimately tearing his Achilles.
These two proverbial sons of the late, great Kobe Bryant battling for the final playoff spot is the poetic justice that 2020 deserves.