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NBA Bubble Watch Week 2: Puzzle Meltdowns, Wine Guys Emerge

The bubble is working! The NBA announced that after two weeks in the bubble there have been zero positive tests for COVID-19. What players HAVE tested positive for are good times, great attitudes, fun, sun, sippin’ vino, and fishing. Sorry if you only read the first part of that sentence. The point is, through total and necessary caution and severity, the NBA’s restart plan remains sound and players are healthy. What can’t happen now is for things to loosen up.

Players can loosen up, but due the highly regimented operations of the bubble, no. Well actually, this week saw some of the first team scrimmages, and with the season officially restarting on July 30, the official opinion here at NBA BW is that shotgunning Coors Lights may soon be seeing a decline, and all those fish Ben Simmons accidentally whipped down onto the dock while trying to throw them back in the water can take a deep breath and rest easy that the angling ratio will also probably slow.

Meantime, let’s see what this week reeled in.

Justise Winslow

Let’s start with the most painful thing for you, rip it right off while giving it the acknowledgement it deserves. Justise Winslow experienced a contact injury to his hip during a scrimmage this week. The restart would have given him his first minutes with the Grizzlies, but he’ll now be out for the remainder of the season. Take some solace in the fact that he got to spend some time by the pool before it happened and experience, in his words, some truly “Nemo Shit.”

Rating: I hope Disney sees this and sends him all the Nemo-related merch his heart desires.

Jimmy Butler

I know this is spon con but can I say that I care? Not in the slightest. Would that stop me from admitting that I choked up? NO. And does it matter why Jimmy was singing, or what song, when we now know as a result that he sounds like an angel? Get out of here!

Rating: Willing to bet this is how he packs for every game and that there’s a pair of dusty old boots ready to hit the trails nestled under his occupationally appropriate shoes.

Luka Doncic

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🏓🎾

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Doncic played some tennis and lounged by the pool, but the other thing Doncic has been doing is geotagging his photos to remote and far-flung locations like Tahiti and Bora Bora. Is he yearning for an escape? Are these just locations that come up because they are related to pavilions in the park?

Rating: Help me answer this Disney-related riddle, Lopez brothers.

Mike Scott (thank you Tobias Harris!)

It was Scott’s bubble birthday this week and he celebrated with a tasty breakfast stack. Tobias Harris was his dude all day, the two went fishing and either Scott didn’t catch a thing or it was just a little guy, because Harris slapped an overlarge emoji on it.

Rating: May we all have a Tobias Harris when we need one in this life.

Paul Millsap

The Nuggets went to the driving range in, I really hope, a convoy of golf carts like this. Have you ever laid eyes on something that fills you with so much terror and joy all at once? Paul Millsap hadn’t, either.

The budding magician took a supporting role to his teammates, cheering them on as he filmed their swings. Jamal Murray twacked a few before hitting a real dinger? Swinger? Blaster? Birdie? Then turned to flex and walk toward Millsap in a pretty good personification of the snorting mad emoji.

Rating: Then they all went back to the hotel with the giant, smiling, disembodied head of Mickey leading the way.

P.J. Tucker

Tucker really treated himself right this week! An in-room manicure and an in-room ice bath.

You know who else loves pancakes? I mean, you ought to, it’s P.J. Tucker! Tucker hadn’t had a stack yet but remedies that this week. He did his stuff.

Rating: Damn did he ever do his stuff.

Paul George

As the fixation on fishing eventually wears off for the league’s more amateur anglers, there is one man who has been patiently waiting them out, with the patience of the very sun. Paul George cannot and will not ever stop fishing. First he went on a night fish, and caught this clunker.

Then, he took (or was likely taken, safety first) out at first light. The best thing about Paul George is when he takes a picture of a body of water and captions it “Y’all know what time it is.” You absolutely do! There’s just no question.

Rating: Fish time.

Jusuf Nurkic

Nurk alert. The Bosnian Beast enjoyed one of the Blazers many relaxing kiddie pools full of ice beside the bigger, probably heated despite it being Florida, pool. They draped a towel gently over his shoulders to keep him warm, but if you quietly said “Brrr” to yourself while looking at this, you’d be right.

Rating: Are the kiddie pools single use in the bubble, like the playing cards?

Tobias Harris

Great friend Tobias Harris took some quiet time out for himself one evening this week, which — let’s take another lesson from Tobi here folks — is important! A pretty deec looking bottle of wine (a 2017 vintage Chateauneuf-du-Pape, one reviewer wrote “Vibrant and silky, offering a juicy, lithe and attractive feel and a focused, fresh finish. Drink or hold.”) and Monopoly made for a nice night in.

Rating: You gotta freakin’ recharge sometimes.

Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell got a big bubble delivery this week, real big. Ten packages visible and just wondering if one of them contains custom Spider-Man sheets?

Rating: Spider-Man sleeping mask?

Rudy Gay

YES Rudy smudge the hell out of that room. Blast all your cares and anxieties away on the slow rolling back of some thick and cascading sage smoke.

Rating: I can smell the curses melting from here.

Myles Turner

First, Turner received some spices. What I genuinely wonder here is does he keep these on his person, dashing a little here and there on his meals as needed, or does he send them down to the kitchen and tactfully and politely tell them that the eggs really need a little something?

Second, Turner is a big puzzle guy. He’s a jigsaw dynamo. But tragedy struck this week. While 99.9 percent done this 1,000 piecer, Turner discovered the final piece was missing. He was not happy!

And why would he be? All that effort, all that time, and no soothing reward of plonking the final piece down into its waiting, weird-shaped cradle. What did he do? He threw the whole thing out!

Rating: Slid it right into the damn trash. What do you want to bet he finds the missing piece in a few weeks time? That’s gonna suck but he’ll have a laugh about it.

Hassan Whiteside

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🎶🎸👫 🤣 @hassanwhiteside @rickspringfield

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I’m so sincerely sorry if you missed this gorgeous moment in the history of modern music this week! But how lucky for you to experience it now, for the first time. Whiteside seems to have discovered the sanguine voice and rich lyricism of Rick Springfield, and damn, does he ever love it. He went howling through his hotel tunnels, singing the chorus to “Jessie’s Girl” all the way. When he arrived in his room he threw open the balcony door and began to sing the same chorus out to the world, to triumphantly echo through the swamps. Just as Rick would’ve wanted it.

Rating: Sure it’s a little proprietorial but the song slaps.

Ben Simmons

Never one to let himself be put off by something that may not come to him so naturally, Simmons received approximately 800 lures to use in the well-stocked Disney ponds where just the one kind of fish lives. Will the Banger or Klutch™ models of lure help him secure an aquatic dynasty of his own? Maybe. Will they help his aim when it comes to throwing fish back in the water? Absolutely not.

It was also Ben’s bubble birthday this week, and he celebrated with this terrifying cake.

Rating: How long til lures are being used as secret bubble currency?

Dwight Powell (thank you Boban!)

Dwight Powell also had a bubble birthday! And thank god Boban was there to take one of the most heartening pictures I’ve ever seen.

Rating: Feel all the stress draining from your shoulders, shh, shh, feel it.

Boban Marjanovic

Best friend to all, Boban Marjanovic, hunkered down and played Ms. Pac-Man and/or Galaga with all the seriousness it requires. But please, if Gordon Hayward brought his gaming bed to the bubble (unconfirmed), can’t we get Boban a better chair?

Rating: They must have the machines with the coin slot blocked out, right?

Buddy Hield

Best Buddy to all, Buddy Hield, hit the damn fish ponds. Judging by that coy smile and the triumphant hoist of his catch, he looks like he’s feeling better!

Rating: A toque in Florida in July? I must respect what I don’t understand.

Toronto Raptors/Drake

Acknowledging that these guys’ rooms are going to get pretty stagnant, over the course of the bubble, Drake sent each and every Toronto Raptor — along with Jamal Murray — custom candles marked with scrawled gold personalized messages. Most put them by the family photos the Raptors organization had framed and put in each player’s room before they got there.

Rating: We know nothing of top notes for each of these scents yet but we are working on it.

C.J. McCollum

McCollum FaceTimed with the biggest puppy in the world, Fiona, and lamented that he had missed bath night.

Rating: Bath night looks pretty cute.

J.R. Smith

Got no clue the context of this but does it matter? Nope.

Rating: This is the new You’re doing amazing, sweetie.

Anthony Toliver (thank you C.J. McCollum!)

Tolliver was sent some wine by notorious wine guy C.J. McCollum. Here’s hoping a more formalized Vino Swap night is organized soon.

Rating: Coors Light Swap can take place on another night.

Marco Belinelli

Beli watched Batman, the Bane one.

Rating: Picturing him in practice the next day sneaking up behind his teammates asking if darkness is their ally, and them asking him to please, shoot the ball.

Kyle Guy

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Pt. 2 Disney World Bass Pro 🎣 #bubblelife #FYB

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The Kings guard caught a lot of fish this week! Like a lot, a lot, and in various locations. He also perfected the move that is giving some dudes trouble, flipping their lanyard behind their back when dealing with fish so as not to have it slapping against their slimy bodies.

Rating: Fishing friendly lanyards are no doubt on the way as far as bubble innovation.

NBA Wine Guys

Welcome to NBA Wine Guys starring Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard, and C.J. McCollum (who filmed). The three met at what will hopefully become their regular haunt to enjoy some of McCollum’s wine. Note Lillard’s handle on that glass — precise, light, confident. And Melo, thoughtfully toasting to the Wine Guys good health. Salut!

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