Dwight Howard and the LA Lakers are very close to winning an NBA championship. In a year that has been extremely weird for the NBA with it taking a hiatus due to COVID-19, and then resuming play in a bubble, the Lakers and the Miami Heat have both overcome hardship to reach the NBA Finals.
Being stuck in the bubble has ultimately been extremely tough for most of the players, though. This includes Howard who recently opened up about being depressed while in the bubble.
The LA Lakers and Miami Heat have made it to the NBA Finals
Despite the year that it’s been for the NBA with COVID-19, and then with the players almost boycotting the season due to their frustrations with the social injustices in America, the league is finally about to crown an NBA champion.
The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, were dominant all season long before entering the bubble, which led to them clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They have since been just as dominant in the playoffs.
After averaging 25.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, and a league-leading 10.2 assists this season, James is averaging 26.6 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, and 8.9 assists in the playoffs. Davis, on the other hand, averaged 26.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds in the regular season. He is now averaging 29.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds in the playoffs.
Their powers together, along with the Lakers’ role players like Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and others, have led the Lakers to three straight five-game series wins.
The Miami Heat had a much different path to the NBA Finals. They played well in the regular season but certainly weren’t favorites to reach the Finals. This led to them earning the five seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the playoffs, Jimmy Butler (20.8 points per game in the playoffs), Bam Adebayo (17.8 points per game and 10.9 rebounds), Goran Dragic (19.9 points per game), Tyler Herro (16.3 points per game), and others have helped them go on a dominant run. The Heat ultimately upset the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They then defeated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals to reach the Finals.
Dwight Howard opened up about life in the NBA bubble
Howard is no longer the dominant player he used to be. He has, however, played a vital role in the Lakers reaching the NBA Finals. In the playoffs, Howard is averaging 6.8 points per game and 5.7 rebounds.
Being stuck in the bubble, though, has been hard at times for Howard.
“For myself, there has been times where I was depressed about just having to be in the bubble, not being able to see my family, my kids,” Howard said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “So, it could be very difficult. So I just tried to find a way to escape mentally by doing a lot of reading, getting out and walking, talking to a lot of the people who work from the NBA who are here and experiencing the bubble as well. So just trying to just share my experiences with them and to listen to their experiences and find hope within each other.”
Howard has, however, been able to find some joy now that his son, David, has joined him in the bubble, according to the LA Times.
Danny Green also opened up about life in the bubble
In addition to Howard opening up about how he has felt in the bubble, his teammate Danny Green has also opened up recently.
“Every two days are the same,” Green said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s either game day or practice day. We stay on the same campus, eat at the same restaurant, go to the same gym, same home, same hotel access. So, yeah. But, yes, we are at the goal line. We still have some work to do, but we do see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that it’s close to the end, it’s near.”
The Lakers are certainly near the end of their time in the bubble. They are just three wins away from winning an NBA championship. Howard and the rest of the players, though, certainly deserve a ton of respect for being stuck inside of there.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference