NBA: Playoffs are Dame time!

Damian Lillard has proven to be one of the best playoff performers in the NBA. This season was supposed to be “Dame-less” but the coronavirus pandemic and the eventual bubble gave the Portland Trailblazers a punchers’ chance to make the playoffs via the play-in game.

But the Blazers may not even need a play-in since they already slid into eighth place, acing the injury-plagued Memphis Grizzlies.

We have had unforgettable Lillard performances through the years. He sent Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets home on a buzzer-beater. Recently, after uncharacteristically missing clutch free throws against the LA Clippers, he reminded Paul George about the latter’s last play with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

PG has been a great performer when he was with the Indiana Pacers, but he truly acted like a sore loser last season, and that was only proven in their eventual Twitter beef. Patrick Beverley, as always, was a dog meant to agitate. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Blazers will still need to play the play-in — but not as the underdog. They will have the twice-to-beat advantage (NBA media guys don’t know what to call that, but Pinoys do because we have that). I would bet they’d end up with the playoff ticket when all is said and done.

That will set up the Portland vs. LA Lakers series which many pundits claim could be an upset, and probably the nightmare for the Tinseltown team. Lest we forget, Dame got swept in the first round as a 3rd seed in 2018 because of one Anthony Davis.

Now Anthony Davis is with LeBron James — the greatest teammate he could possibly have. But Dame Time will definitely try like hell, and that alone is well worth watching.

Much maligned Lakers
Speaking of the Lakers, too many pundits want to write them off and give the Clippers the Western Conference title. The Lakers are shallow, their roster is flawed, they lack defense and they are lethargic in the bubble.

It’s easy to forget, this “flawed” roster won more games than any “loaded” team in the West. Rotations get smaller in the playoffs and having stars mean much more. The Lakers have the best combo of superstars (envy breeds hate), and you cannot write off LeBron and Anthony Davis until you’ve played them. You just can’t.

The Lakers losses in the bubble? They don’t have anything to win for. They clinched top West seed in their third game back. There is no home court advantage to chase for. They are only experimenting lineups at this point, so people saying the Lakers are terrible because they’re losing simply do not understand how the NBA works.

Giannis has the edge
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the model citizen in the NBA, but maybe he is finally unleashing the edge that he needs to win a title.

You would compare him to JuneMar Fajardo, who never loses his cool, who walked away from the most infamous brawl in basketball.

Giannis has recently shed his good boy persona, for better or worse. He threw shade on James Harden and even threw the ball on his face! He brazenly lied about not getting access to a basketball court during the pandemic — and admitted that it was to get a tactical advantage.

Now, Giannis just got into a beef with Moritz Wagner of all people, in an inconsequential game against the Washington Wizards, of all teams. He clearly sent a headbutt on the young German, and he may get a suspension on their seeding game.

The Milwaukee Bucks are already no.1 when there isn’t even home court advantage. It should be a good sign for them that the Greek Freak now has this edge. That may be what they’re missing in their past playoff runs.

Phoenix’s new lease on life
The Phoenix Suns’ bubble run has enabled them to cross off Devin Booker from the list of Disgruntled Star Players Who Will Demand a Trade. The sun finally shone on Phoenix as DeAndre Ayton earned his team redemption points for not picking Luka.

They will be better next season, but they still have a bad owner.

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