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Podcast Episode 37: Everything you need to know about the NBA Finals

Podcast

This week co-hosts Ellen and Steph give #thegist on everything you need to know about the 2020 NBA Finals (think player drama, celebrity involvement and more) and discuss why the NFL needs to act fast on their recent COVID-19 outbreak. Tune in, wonโ€™t you?

September 30, 2020
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Listen to this episode of The GIST of IT here

Ellen: What is up GISTers? Welcome to The GIST of It. I'm Ellen Hyslop.

Steph: And I'm Steph Rotz.

Ellen: And we're just two old pals and we're two gals and we're here to give you the gist of what's going on in the sports world. So let's get right to it. Ok, Steph, so since our podcast last week, I feel like the world, as well as the sports world has changed drastically, especially in the NFL, that yesterday on Tuesday saw their first positive covid-19 test since the start of their season at the beginning of September. There might be some game postponements this week. We're not sure yet. Something we'll get to a little bit later in this conversation.

Steph: Yes, we'll definitely have to pick that conversation up again later in the podcast. Yeah, I'm with you here, Ellen. I'm a tired adult sports fan. I feel like that should be trademarked at some point. There have been so many late nights for me just to try and keep up with how everything's going. To quote one of the sportscasters, though, on Monday night in the NHL, the bubble has, quote unquote popped there.

Ellen: Ok, so that was so visual when he said that I couldn't help but think of a juicy ass pimple, you just go in and it's like pimple popping. But I was picturing the bubble popping. I don't know. Anyway, that might be too graphic. Sorry about that, but that's literally what I pictured.

Steph: I pictured a marshmallow in the campfire and it's getting bigger.

Ellen: That's really nice.

Steph: So there's no there's an alternative visual for you all out there. But yeah, huge kudos to the Tampa Bay Lightning for holding it down and winning the Stanley Cup on Monday night. They deserved it. I really, truly think they did. And it was a great game to watch the last game on Monday. 

Ellen: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And since then there's been a couple of cool stories that have come out and one that my inner sports nerd absolutely loves, mostly because it's a relatable story and maybe for us, but also for all of our GISTers, too. John Cooper, the Tampa Bay lightning head coach- his story in terms of him becoming a head coach is just insane. So he played lacrosse in college and then he actually moved to work on Wall Street after college and ended up becoming a lawyer. And then when he was thirty two years old, he ended up just randomly volunteering to become a high school hockey coach. And he was just doing it for a friend as a favor. And then all of a sudden he just became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning and just won a Stanley Cup. So he didn't get into hockey until he was thirty two years old, doing a friend a favor and now he's hoisting the Stanley Cup. So you just think about how that literally could be you. That could be anyone out there who just understands the game, loves the game, is great at analyzing everything and could go out there and have your dream come true. So I love that story.

Steph: I love that story, too, because every so often I Google how to become a hockey coach in Ontario, which is a province in Canada. And I dream about what it would be like to coach a girls hockey team. So I really appreciate that story.

Ellen: Oh, my gosh. We're going to see you one day behind the bench on Team Canada. I just know it, huh?

Steph: Oh, Ellen. You continue to flatter me, but I like to to gas myself up, though here. I do think at the beginning of the playoffs, Ellen, you asked me to pick one team that I thought would win the Stanley Cup. And I think I picked Tampa. And I've been so bad at predictions on the podcast that I need to just read that one into the script here today.

Ellen: Yes. Yes, you got that one. Steph. I'm very proud you went all in and you were right and it's a good thing we didn't get any money. I would've been a sore loser right now sending you twenty or forty bucks or whatever we would have done because we're cheap.

Steph: It's ok you gas me up every day anyways. But we also have horrible timing on the podcast. So apart from me having really bad predictions and while we're recording this podcast, we have some games being played. So pop on the Google, as we love to say, to see if the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA or the Las Vegas Aces are joining the very, very dominant Seattle storm in the WNBA finals. So the NHL may be over, but we are ready for the WNBA finals.

Ellen: Yeah, that Connecticut Sun and Vegas Aces series has been so much fun, so much drama, so close. I didn't expect it to be that close versus Seattle Storm just completely trounced the Minnesota Lynx. It was completely unfair. And Seattle is going to have a lot of rest coming in and waiting for whoever they'll be meeting next.

Steph: And everyone's got different theories, theories about a lot of rest, I'm sure.

Ellen: Yeah, totally.

Steph: And then the MLB postseason started last night. Hockey is out baseball is in and I might be a little bit sad about it. You know, hockey is my sport, but I'm not necessarily mad about it. I stocked up on sunflower seeds before the second lockdown happened here in the city of Toronto for the baseball postseason and Ellen, is this year going to be the year that the L.A. Dodgers finally take home the World Series?

Ellen: I think that it might be Steph and I'm sorry, I'm just picturing you sitting on your couch watching the Blue Jays against Tampa, just eating your sunflower seeds and just spitting them out into this big bowl. Just so gross. The way that baseball players spit so much, it grosses me out. But anyway, outside of you eating sunflower seeds and baseball players being gross with the way that they spit, I would like to see the Dodgers win. I feel like their pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, who's arguably one of the greatest pitchers of our time, truly deserves a World Series title. So I don't know. I hope so.

Steph: So obviously, there's a lot going on. We've kind of bounced all over the map with that one. But today, what we want to give you is the gist of everything that you need to know about the NBA finals between the L.A. Lakers and the Miami Heat. There's a lot of drama, a lot of storylines and a lot of history between these two teams. So this preview is going to be a fun one. Spicy.

Ellen: All right, so let's set the stage for the NBA finals, as you mentioned, Steph, it's the Miami Heat taking on the L.A. Lakers in the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, which, oh, my gosh, these guys have been at Disney World for such a long time. And I know that Disney is supposed to be the greatest place on Earth, but God damn, I'm sure they cannot wait to get out there. They're probably just itching to get out of Disney and never come back. But anyway, Miami, of course, is representing the Eastern Conference and the L.A. Lakers are, of course, representing the Western Conference. To give you a little bit of a historic background, the Heat have won three NBA championships in their franchise history, while the Lakers are one of the most successful teams in NBA history with 16 championship rings. Ironically, two of the three championships in Miami and for the Heat were won when now Laker LeBron James played for them between 2010 and 2014.

Steph: Such a big team and a lot of drama. Wild to remember that LeBron teamed up with former Raptor Chris Bosh and Forever Heat Dwayne Wade in the decision, quote unquote, effectively forming the first power team back in 2010, also known as the Big Three. So it's going to be super interesting to see him play to see LeBron play against the Miami Heat given this matchup history and given that these teams' history.

Ellen: Yeah. Remember when that happened, there was so much hype and there was so many people waiting to see his decision. And that was back in the days when LeBron was still wearing the sweatband on his forehead and they all came out on the stage and there might have been smoke, but I might just be making that up because I love the dramatic flair. But there might have been smoke when they came out on the stage. But I do remember them all standing backwards and then turning around and being like, yeah, we're the big three. And I actually remember in that moment being like F off LeBron, like that was really annoying. I thought that it was absolutely way too showy and ridiculous. But now I do kind of like it. And I love that drama and I love that he did that. But I wonder if LeBron now, as an older LeBron is like, oh, my God, that was embarrassing. As a young LeBron.

Steph: I think he didn't bring back the sweatbands. Just bring back the sweatband. That's all I ask.

Ellen: Yes. Yes. I love the sweatband and I think it's a great look. But anyway, as you are talking about Miami, I think that another kind of layer that adds to this Laker-LeBron-Miami kind of triangle that we have here is that Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra and Miami owner Pat Riley were also the head coach and owner when LeBron was there. So they have familiarity with the kid on how he plays and how to defend him.

Steph: The GIST did post that Erik Spoelstra story on Instagram earlier this week. So in case you missed it, he did start with the franchise back in nineteen ninety five as a video coordinator. And now Eric has the team the chance to secure his third NBA championship as the head coach for the team. That's such a good story.

Ellen: So cool between him and John Cooper. They just have great coaches, stories that we're able to share with today.

Steph: So I really wanted to pull that to the forefront there. Anyways, let's talk about the players that we should be watching in the series for each team and a little bit more of the stories behind each of them. We're going to start with Miami because we think that they're the underdog and I feel a little bit less known in comparison to the players and the Lakers.

Ellen: Yes, I'd say that a lot of the Miami players, not all of them, because they're, as you said, some well-known players on there, but a lot of them have kind of come out of nowhere and been sneaky good in the bubble. They've just really come into their own. So we want us to talk about a few key players on each team. So with the Miami Heat first, let's talk about Jimmy Butler and Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. He is an interesting character. So Jimmy has played for a number of teams in the NBA. He's a former Philadelphia Seventy Sixer. And to me, he definitely plays with that chip on his shoulder in terms of a bunch of other teams dishing him around, not thinking that he's good enough, but he is. He's in the frickin NBA finals. And I think that he's totally worth all the hype and he shouldn't have been from all these other teams. And it's great to see him in the NBA finals.

Steph: My favorite Jimmy story is an off the court story. He's turned out to be a little bit of an entrepreneur in the bubble. He noticed that the Bubble hotel coffee shop had closed,  and he's been making coffee himself in his room and charging his teammates for coffee for 20 bucks a cup, each cup of coffee. He's been making merchandise. He's got the cups branded. I'm all for the Jimmy Coffee experience.

Ellen: Yeah. So funny. I saw an interview with him yesterday because it was a National Coffee Day or something like that. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I couldn't say, I drink tea. Apparently it was National Coffee Day and a lot of the media were like, hey, are you going to give your coffee away for National Coffee Day? And he was like, hell no, it's still twenty dollars. I'm not giving them coffee for free. So I just love that work.

Steph: He gave someone a free cup for a good game.

Ellen: So lucky them, but it's a big bonus. Ok, so moving along from Jimmy and his coffee experience, I'm sure he's going to allow merch for everyone to buy soon because it's just taking off so much. I want to talk about Bam Adebayo so I love Bam. He's only been in the league for a few years now. He entered the league in twenty seventeen and him and Jimmy, the two of them have basically led the heat to the finals in my opinion. I also just think it's so fun because every time he gets a bucket it's not just me, but everyone on social media is kind of like Bam! Bam just got a bucket. His name just works out so perfectly with the action that he's doing on court. It's amazing. So definitely look out for him as one of the key players for the Miami Heat. Another guy who's really come into his own is twenty year old rookie Tyler Herro. So Tyler really came out, came into his own in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics in game four. He scored thirty seven points, which was the second most points scored by a player age twenty or younger in NBA history. And the only other person who scored more and was just as young was Magic Johnson. And to be within the same group and to be around the same name as someone like Magic Johnson is just so wild and so fun. So kudos to this twenty year old for just being lights out. I'm interested to see if he can actually keep up the intensity and be OK with the nervous energy that comes with the finals.

Steph: Mhm. Yes, I do need to interject one more time with an off the court story here, Ellen. Speaking of Herro and because you know I love a little bit of gossip, I love a little bit of pop culture mixed in with my sports. Lakers player Kyle Kuzma's ex-girlfriend Katya Elise Henry is now dating Tyler Herro. So keep an eye on the court for Kuzma and Herro's interaction dynamic. I just think this is a really juicy story that we all need to know about.

Ellen: Oh I can't wait to see the chirps or if there are any chirps that will be super exciting. I hope they get mic'd up on game or something and we could see what they say. Oh please. That would be so fun. So outside of Tyler, the last person who we wanted to talk about was Goran Dragic. He's thirty four years old, so he brings a lot of experience to the squad and he's just a super strong ball handler, one of the best point guards in the league. So keep an eye out.

Steph: Ok, we've gone through the Heat. Let's get into the Lakers key players now. First up, the next NBA superstar to suit up for the Toon Squad alongside Bugs Bunny. Of course, we have to start this section off with LeBron James, who needs no introduction. This is LeBron's first playoffs with the Lakers. But in his career, he's played in ten NBA finals, winning three of them. To put that into perspective, to put these numbers into perspective, because it's a lot to wrap my head around. What this means is LeBron has been to the finals more than twenty seven current NBA franchises. It's kind of like a chirp, I don't know.

Ellen: It's kind of sad for those other franchises. It's like, yo man, you can't do anything without this guy.

Steph: Oh, he's a Batman, you might say. If we're going to create an analogy here. So the Robin to LeBron's Batman is Anthony "The Brow" Davis. Davis is six foot ten. And he was truly phenomenal back in his college days and obviously still is now. He was first drafted to the New Orleans Pelicans and has made some serious impact since coming into the Lakers team over this past season.

Ellen: Yeah, and you know what I love about Davis, what I don't love is his unibrow. But kudos to him for rocking it and just not succumbing to me. And what I don't like about that unibrow. But anyway, what I do love about Davis is that he has such a powerful game to him and he totally leverages his height in such an incredible way. But he is also just so graceful, like he has such a nice touch around the basket. He can pull up and hit a jumper. He can pull up and hit a three. And to me, I always just think about these NBA players being so tall and so athletic and not klutzy, and yet they're graceful at the same time and they have finesse. It's just so cool to see the athleticism of these big, tall people on the strong side. But also there they have as light as a feather touches like a ballerina. And Anthony Davis has all of that.

Steph: The NBA's YouTube channel put out a twenty one minute highlight reel of Davis's time on the Lakers this past year. So there's a twenty one minute receipt to everything that just Ellen just said, if you wanted to check that one out. And we have another fresh Laker, but star Laker with Danny Green. Danny Green, he used to be with our beloved Toronto Raptors, but he could be the only player this year to go back to back in winning NBA championships, which is pretty cool. So, you know, good for you, Danny Green. And same as last year, Danny is a cold blooded killer shooting threes. So finally, my gals, that leaves us with big man Dwight Howard, who dubbed himself Superman Dwight Howard. He is also a six foot ten. Sorry. I'm sorry to sound a little bit like a Hinge profile here. I was simply stating these men's height. But of course, he is a huge presence under the basket. He's not necessarily as good as he used to be, but he's definitely good enough to still make a difference on the court.

Ellen: Yeah, I like Dwight. He's a jokester. Not someone to keep too close an eye on because he isn't making that huge impact. But he's still just so fun. And, you know, for the Lakers, Steph, we could have gone on and on. They have so much depth, it's actually scary. But outside of the depth to me that the Lakers have one thing that I'm worried about for Miami is that even though they're super skilled, they're very talented, they're excellent shooters. They're just a small team compared to L.A., the Celtics. When Miami played the Celtics, the Celtics are also a small team. And so they didn't have too many issues there. But when you have so many tall players on the Laker side of things and so many big guys, my guess would be that the Miami Heat need to lean into their bench a little bit more and we'll be starting to bring in some more of those big men. My guess would be one of those big men would be Canadian, Kelly Olynyk, long flowing blond hair. You see him on the court. He's going to have to come off the bench more often for Miami if they want to have any chance in stopping Davis, LeBron or Dwight Howard under the basket.

Steph: Mm. And even though most of these games are going to be starting at nine p.m. Eastern Time, Ellen and I am a sleepy adult, I do really want this series to go to seven games because obviously the fuck doesn't want an NBA Finals series to be going to seven games. But I also think that the Lakers do have a chance to take this in five or six games, considering especially that they did beat the Heat in the two games that they played them this regular season.

Ellen: Yeah, that's a really good point. But also devil's advocate. The second time that these guys played the Lakers only won by one basket. They only won by three points. So, you know, it could happen that Miami does actually force it to seven games. And, you know, I love LeBron. I think he's great. I love what he's been doing this year. But I also love an underdog. And I think that would be so fun to see. The Heat upset the Lakers, who the Lakers have been everyone's favorites for such a long time, including the favorites of so many celebrities. That's another thing that we need to talk about is this is a celebrity filled NBA finals. So Halsey is this low key, but now high key super avid Lakers fans, she created this burner Twitter account just to be able to go off about everything that's happening in the NBA, which I absolutely love, and then you have Snoop Dogg, too, who's just literally completely into everything that the Lakers are doing. But on the other side, Miami, there's a lot of star power, too, including DJ Khaled, and you know that he's going to be all in. So I'm also very excited. And you might be more excited because I know that you are on Twitter more than I am. But I'm excited to see how the celebrities also get into this seven game series. I think it is going to be exciting to see, you know, how they trash talk each other going back and forth.

Steph: I was just going to say, Ellen, I am 100 percent going to have my phone open and we scrolling through Twitter whenever these games are on just to see the commentary and to see what everyone else is saying. And I'm hoping that some of my favorite people pop up onto my timeline as secret Lakers fans. But, you know, fun things aside and, you know, celebrities aside, I think it's important to wrap things up here with keeping top of mind what the season was all about. And while there's so much going on on the court, of course, I think we need to tip our non-existent hats again to everything and everyone that the NBA and the WNBA have done throughout the playoffs in the fight against racial injustice. Players on each of these teams and each of these leagues have been really, really vocal throughout bubble basketball. Both of the leagues have used the real estate on their jerseys to bring attention towards racism, systemic racism and oppression, as well as police brutality. And the players, they did get together in both leagues and did a wildcat strike after unarmed black man Jacob Blake was shot seven times by police officers. And after the incredibly unjust and offensive ruling in Breonna Taylor's case, players condemned the decision, saying that the law showed no accountability for the death of Breonna Taylor, but rather accountability for the property next door. Unsurprised, these players once again pointed towards who and what the law was built to protect. And so keeping in mind the amount of work that these athletes have done this season to keep all of these issues top of mind.

Ellen: Yeah, I'm really glad that you're bringing that up, Steph, because we owe so much to these two leagues, all the players, all of the personnel, but also the leagues that have supported the players and personnel and all of the messages and everything that they have been wanting to do in order to speak up and to stand up for everything that they believe in and for everything that is truly right. It has also been incredible to see how they've also used their platform around getting people to vote and to register to vote and to vote before the election in November and to really get into the civic side of everything, too, because that is the conversation that's on top of everything and involved with everything that they've been talking about for the entire season. So I think that we just have to say a huge thank you to the W. A huge thank you to the NBA for everything that they've done. And also, we do need to say to the MLB and to the NFL that are still playing it's your turn to take the torch and move the needle into all of the progress and change that we need to be seeing and take all of this momentum from the W and the NBA and keep it moving.

Steph: Mm hmm. Yes, keep the momentum from these two leagues moving, especially since the NHL really hit the snooze button on that one.

Ellen: Ok, to close out our podcast, Steph, we are going to feature a WTF moment slash story submitted by one of our GISTers, so one of our listeners. And this week's submission comes from Lauren, who is from Nashville, Tennessee.

Steph: Tuesday morning, Lauren submitted a tweet from ESPN journalist Diana Russini, who said that a league source texted her saying, "We're shutting down Tennessee until Saturday." That followed up with a report that the Titans players and staff tested positive for covid-19.

Ellen: Yes, multiple players and multiple staff have tested positive for covid-19 on the Tennessee Titans. Of course, we still don't know who those players were, who the staff are or anything like that. And we think that Tennessee will probably keep that pretty close to their chest. They are supposed to be playing on Sunday, I believe, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is looking like they might still play the game. But things are very up in the air right now as to whether or not they're going to play it, if they're going to host it or if they're going to travel. It's still very up in the air. And it makes me a little bit nervous.

Steph: I am holding my breath, nervous about how this is all unfolding.

Ellen: Yeah. And you know, what I want to know, Steph, is what is the NFL going to do about it? Can they pivot now to bubbles or neutral sites? Could they get a regionalized travel schedule going? Can they leverage any empty college stadiums for the next month on the West Coast while we're waiting for the PAC 12 to start playing again? What I'm nervous about is that, you know, the MLB didn't act fast enough and the MLB now is hosting the wild card series at one stadium. But then after that, they're going to this neutral site bubble system in California and Texas. So if the MLB had such a hard time with doing this, the NFL, granted has way less games, only playing on Sundays, Thursdays and Mondays. But still, I would have wanted them to change faster. So it's going to be really interesting to see how the NFL actually handles this.

Steph: Certainly can't wait for it to just go away or to treat this as an isolated incident. And this isn't going to be the only incident for sure.

Ellen: No, definitely not. So this is definitely a WTF moment. More so as of course, this was going to happen. We knew that this was going to happen. You didn't really do anything about it, but hopefully there will be change coming out of it. And for next week, we also want to hear more of your WTF moments. Again, it can be from the pro sports world, amateur sports world, or even just a WTF moment you've had in your own life and in real life, let's say, lately. So over the next week, email Steph and I at pod@thegistsports.com with your WTF moment and you may be featured on next week's podcast.

Steph: All right, sports pals. That was the gist of it from Ellen and I. Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like us, you like the pod and you want to help us get the word out, please leave us a review and give us those five stars. You can also tell your pals, your sports pals to subscribe to The GIST of It on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or Stitcher.

Ellen: Yes. And once you're done telling your friends about us, we'd love for you to check out thegistsports.com and sign up for our free twice weekly newsletter where every Monday and Thursday morning we give you the gist of what's going on in the sports world in less than five minutes. Again, you can subscribe at thegistsports.com. Otherwise Steph and I want to hear from you. We want to chat. Get in touch with us over email at pod@thegistsports.com or DM us on Instagram, @thegistnews.ca or @thegistusa. Again, I'm Ellen Hyslop,

Steph: And I'm Steph Rotz.

Ellen: And this has been The GIST of It. Take care of yourselves and we'll chat next week.