NBA bubble Day Three recap: Raptors present they’re nonetheless title menace

NBA bubble Day 3 recap: Raptors show they're still title threat


The primary two days of the NBA’s restarted season tipped off Thursday and Friday, with two time beyond regulation thrillers highlighting the second evening of motion.

What did Day Three have in retailer for NBA followers? There have been 5 video games on faucet, and Miami defeated short-handed Denver 125-105 within the first recreation of the day. The Nuggets performed with out three starters and are in peril of shedding management of third place within the Western Convention. The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder took care of the Utah Jazz 110-94.

The Los Angeles Clippers made a franchise-record 25 3-pointers of their straightforward 126-103 victory in opposition to New Orleans.

The Indiana Pacers dealt with the Philadelphia 76ers 127-121, and the Toronto Raptors topped the Los Angeles Lakers 107-92 to cap the day. Do not sleep on the Raptors. 

Keep in mind, playoff spots and seeding are on the road within the ultimate stretch, irrespective of how a lot it seems like the start of a season.

Updates from all through the day and the evening from Jeff Zillgitt, Mark Medina — on the bottom at Disney — and the USA TODAY Sports activities NBA group, together with evaluation, information and highlights:

POPOVICH: Spurs defend coach for not kneeling throughout nationwide anthem

EASTERN PREVIEW: Do the Celtics have the expertise to beat the Bucks?

Saturday’s key performances

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry was the star in opposition to the Lakers. He had 33 factors, 14 rebounds and 6 assists and confirmed why the Raptors stay a championship contender even with out Kawhi Leonard.

Indiana’s T.J. Warren scored a career-high 53 factors, the primary 50-point recreation of the restart. He had 29 within the first half and helped negate Philadelphia middle Joel Embiid’s 41-point, 21-rebound efficiency. If the Pacers can play like that, rely them as one other group that may outperform its seed.

Oklahoma Metropolis guard Chris Paul proved why he’s nonetheless an All-NBA caliber level guard. He had 18 factors, seven assists, seven rebounds and the Thunder outscored Utah by 27 factors whereas he was on the court docket. He simply dominated the sport, and the Thunder are one other group that might shock groups within the playoffs.

Miami forwards Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo every scored 22 factors with Adebayo including 9 rebounds and 6 assists and Butler contributing seven assists and three steals.

Paul George had 28 factors and made 8-of-11 3-pointers for the Clippers, and teammate Leonard had 24 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists. Leonard had 18 factors within the first half, and George had 15 within the second half.

Sixers teammates change heated phrases

The Philadelphia 76ers are a classy sleeper decide to make a deep playoff run, however their first recreation of the restart received off to a rocky begin in opposition to the Indiana Pacers.

After the Sixers jumped out to a fast 14-7 lead, the Pacers responded with a 17-Zero run to take management. Indiana led 35-29 on the finish of the primary quarter when tempers appeared to boil over a bit on the Sixers bench.

Joel Embiid and Shake Milton have been seen exchanging some heated phrases through the timeout. Matisse Thybulle needed to maintain Milton again from participating Embiid after some preliminary shouting.

The Pacers took a 61-55 lead into halftime, however the Sixers rallied to take a 10-point lead early within the fourth quarter. T.J. Warren then rallied Indiana down the stretch and completed with a career-high 53 factors within the Pacers’ 127-121 victory.

Embiid completed with 41 factors and 21 rebounds and downplayed the change with Milton after the sport.

“It’s basketball,” Embiid mentioned. “All people makes errors, it occurs. We’ve got to come back in and get higher. We mentioned what’s happening and we transfer on and discover a resolution. It’s nothing.”

Embiid is essential to the Sixers’ playoff hopes after he missed the ultimate two scrimmages with a sore proper calf for “precautionary” causes. Indiana and Philadelphia entered the restart tied for fifth within the Japanese Convention, with the Pacers holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Thunder kneel regardless of Okla. lawmaker menace of tax penalties

In a press release Friday, Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) threatened to drag tax advantages for the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder if gamers have been to kneel through the nationwide anthem earlier than Saturday’s recreation.

The Thunder performed their first recreation of the restarted season in opposition to the Utah Jazz in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In the course of the nationwide anthem, each Thunder participant, coach and employees member on the sideline kneeled.

Within the assertion, Roberts equated the Black Lives Matter motion to “Marxism” and mentioned it tried to “destroy nuclear households.” 

— Jeff Patterson, The Oklahoman

Oladipo will play within the bubble

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo did not need to danger re-injuring his ruptured quad tendon so he indicated earlier this summer season he wouldn’t be a part of the NBA’s restart.

Nonetheless, after a number of practices and feeling extra snug, Oladipo will play for the Pacers and play not more than 30 minutes in opposition to Philadelphia Saturday. As just lately as Friday, he had not dedicated to enjoying. He completed with 15 factors and 7 rebounds within the Pacers’ victory in opposition to the Sixers.

Stand or kneel for anthem?

Miami’s Meyers Leonard, whose brother Bailey is a Marine and served not less than two excursions in Afghanistan, stood for the nationwide anthem however wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

“A number of the conversations I’ve had over the previous three days, fairly actually, have been probably the most troublesome,” Leonard advised The Related Press. “I’m with the Black Lives Matter motion, and I like and assist the army and my brother and the individuals who have fought to defend our rights on this nation.”

Warmth coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned the group understood and revered Leonard’s reasoning after having “an excellent group assembly about it the place all people expresses their assist for him.” 

“He has the backing of all people within the locker room and all people is aware of the place his coronary heart is. He’s absolutely behind this motion identical to all people else in our group and the affiliation,” Spoelstra mentioned. “This isn’t a political dialogue. This isn’t an both/or dialogue. That is an ‘and’ dialogue. That is about combating for fundamental human rights and equality. I really do really feel it’s an ‘and’ proposition. He wished to peacefully protest and assist this trigger and honor the flag and the way he respects that.”

Denver’s Michael Porter Jr., who praised Orlando ahead Jonathan Isaac’s choice to face and never put on a Black Lives Matter T-shirt on Friday, knelt and wore a Black Lives Matter shirt.

Not everyone seems to be kneeling, together with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.

NBA ensures Butler adjustments jersey

Miami All-Star Jimmy Butler wished to depart the again of his jersey clean regardless that that wasn’t an accepted choice for gamers wishing to place a message on the again of their jerseys.

Butler tried to begin Saturday’s recreation in opposition to Denver with no message or title listed on his jersey, however league officers made him change right into a jersey that had his title on it.

Why?

I don’t know. I don’t care. I didn’t have a reputation on the again of the beginning. However I made a decision to alter as a result of my teammates in all probability want me tonight.

Butler wished a clean jersey to be a illustration that society provides him title worth due to his potential on the basketball court docket however with out the jersey he’s a illustration of each one who seems like him and till everybody has equal worth, nobody does. 

“Displaying no title or message on the again of a participant’s jersey was not an choice among the many social justice messages agreed upon by the Gamers Affiliation and the NBA as modifications to the foundations relating to uniforms,” an NBA spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “Per league guidelines, the uniform will not be in any other case altered and anybody carrying an altered jersey won’t be permitted to enter the sport.”



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