The Clippers devastatingly blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the 2020 playoffs.
“We only lost that s— because we were in the bubble,” Marcus Morris Sr. says. “[If] we weren’t in the bubble, we’d beat the s— out of them. Put that on the record. … Guys are out of their comfort zone. Kudos to Denver.”
First and foremost: The Nuggets deserve credit for winning. It’s commendable to face whatever challenges comes your way and overcome them.
But we have also established over several decades what it means to advance in the playoffs. The bubble presented new hardships that don’t necessarily align with what we’ve traditionally valued for NBA-postseason success.
Some players handled the unique pressures of isolating at Disney World better than others. Clippers star Paul George was open about his mental-health issues, and his uneven play in the bubble reflected them.
More tangibly, No. 2 seed L.A. earned home-court advantage over No. 3 seed Denver. But because of coronavirus, the second-round series was played completely on neutral courts. That’s significant. Home teams have won about 80% of Game 7s.
We’ll never know what would’ve happened if the season ended normally. Again, credit the Nuggets for what we do know: They won.
But Morris might be right, too.