For the second-straight week, the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA’s best team in terms of record, fell victim to a Florida Gator in the NBA Bubble.
After Chris Chiozza (guard, Brooklyn Nets) registered his first-career double-double in a win over Milwaukee on Aug. 4, Dorian Finney-Smith (forward, Dallas Mavericks) dropped a career-high 27 points against the Bucks on Aug. 8, as the Mavs won in overtime, 136-132. Finney-Smith drained six three pointers to go along with 11 rebounds.
DFS has been on career-best offensive tear in the regular season’s final games, scoring in double digits in four consecutive contests between Aug. 4 and Aug. 11.
The Mavericks hold the No. 7 seed in the West and will face off with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
While Finney-Smith flourishes, Al Horford (forward/center, Philadelphia 76ers) is looking to find offensive consistency. The five-time All Star scored 21 points in a 108-101 victory over the Orlando Magic on Aug. 7, the only time he’s put up over 20 points in the bubble.
However, Horford has shown he can score consistently when he takes enough shots. He had a three-game stretch of 18, 22, and 20 points just before the NBA season was postponed in March. Big Al had double-digit shot attempts in each of those games, and his 21-point outburst is the only contest inside the bubble in which he took at least 10 shots.
With point guard Ben Simmons out for the remainder of the season, the sixth-seeded 76ers will need to make Horford a bigger part of the offense in against the Boston Celtics in the first round.
A lot of former Gators received opportunities in the NBA bubble that they never would have seen in a typical season.
After not appearing in an NBA game since February, Michael Frazier (guard, Houston Rockets) played in the final four games of the regular season, averaging 15.5 minutes per contest. His best performance came in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, where he scored six points and grabbed four rebounds.
Udonis Haslem (forward, Miami Heat) also saw his first action of the NBA Bubble in the Heat’s final game of the regular season against Indiana Pacers, their first-round opponent. The 17-year veteran moved well and looked decently athletic despite playing in only his fourth game of the season. He had seven points and eight rebounds in over 23 minutes, and he nearly added a spicy putback dunk that was called off for basket interference.
Joakim Noah (center, Los Angeles Clippers) saved his most efficient performance for the Clippers’ final regular season game against his former college coach, Billy Donovan, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Noah dropped nine points on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with six rebounds, five assists and a steal in 29 minutes of action.
It’s possible Corey Brewer (forward, Sacramento Kings) played his final game in an NBA uniform. The 13-season veteran averaged just 6.5 minutes after signing a contract to join the Kings in the bubble. However, the Kings will return to Sacramento after finishing 12th in the West.
Follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr.