The Lakers and Clippers moved on to the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs—with decisive wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks, respectively—but not before joining their peers in an historic strike for social justice in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Now, both of Los Angeles’ teams will head into the Western Conference Semifinals feeling rested and refreshed, not to mention boosted by concessions that they and their fellow players extracted from the owners to help get out the vote in November.
In this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin reflect on how the players used the NBA’s platform to push for change in a whole new way. What did the players get in return for their unprecedented collective action? Will new initiatives from team owners make a meaningful difference for American society at large? What might this maneuver mean for the future of labor relations in professional basketball? How much more can the league’s players, coaches and owners achieve by working together off the court?
Like the NBA as a whole, our co-hosts then get back to the business of basketball at hand. What are the biggest issues facing the Lakers as they look to continue their quest for the franchise’s 17th championship? Which potential second-round opponent poses a bigger threat: Chris Paul’s Oklahoma City Thunder or the Houston Rockets, led by James Harden and Russell Westbrook?
The Clippers, meanwhile, have had no trouble scoring this postseason, though their vaunted defense hasn’t kept up. What must Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and company do to button up their play on that end against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets’ high-octane offense? Could the dynamic bench duo of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell turn out to be more of a liability than an asset for Doc Rivers’ squad?
Find out about all that and more on the latest edition of #HollywoodHoops!
00:00 – NBA Players on Strike
15:06 – Voting and Basketball
29:48 – Lakers in Round 2
43:52 – Where’s the Clippers’ D?