Damian Lillard claps back at haters who discredit Lakers 2020 bubble title: ‘Everybody else had the same opportunity’

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read

Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard is having a whirlwind offseason, but he recently found time to speak about the 2020 NBA bubble and Los Angeles Lakers team that won it.

In Lillard’s view, L.A.’s 2020 title counts, and he explained why.

“I feel like it would have been hard to win that ’cause people was fresh, bruh,” he said. “… Everybody was fresh. That’s why you seen dudes hooping like that ’cause it was nothing else, so I feel like that would make it harder to win it all.”

Lillard acknowledged those who were impacted by the bubble environment from a mental health standpoint, but he made it clear that physically, everyone was fresh and ready to go.

“It count to me ’cause you gotta look at it like this — why don’t it count?” he continued. “Nobody else won it. Everybody else had the same opportunity. Everybody else had the same opportunity to win it, so why they didn’t win it?”

Lillard himself was phenomenal in the Orlando, Fla. environment. The Blazers played eight games to close the regular season in the bubble, and during that stretch, the sharpshooter averaged 37.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.6 assists per game while knocking down 49.7 percent of his shots from the field and 43.6 percent of his shots from deep.

He then dropped 31 points and 10 assists to help Portland beat the Memphis Grizzlies in a play-in game, setting up a Blazers-Lakers matchup in the first round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles made quick work of Portland in the series, winning the best-of-seven affair in five games. Lillard, who played in four of the five games, had a couple of big showings during the series but was also held under 20 points twice.

Overall, he averaged 24.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in the first-round matchup while shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from deep.

For his efforts in the eight Blazers games that took place to close the regular season, Lillard was named MVP of the bubble.

The Lakers, meanwhile, ran through the 2020 NBA Playoffs in the unique environment. Los Angeles followed up its elimination of Portland with series wins over the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, giving the Lakers their first NBA title in a decade.

Debates about the legitimacy of L.A.’s bubble title have been spirited in the time since, but it’s clear where Lillard stands, and it’s likely safe to assume that every member of the 2019-20 Lakers is proud of what the team accomplished in Orlando.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.