As Kentucky sports fans anxiously await the potential start of fall and winter sports, the spotlight shines on former University of Kentucky basketball players competing for a championship in the NBA restart at Disney World.
There are numerous Kentucky players participating in the playoff bubble. Notable performances from the last days of August are below. Check out which players made solid contributions in first round game one's, game two's, game three's, game four's and the final games of August.
FIRST ROUND GAME SEVEN’S
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Coming off incredible point totals of 50, 42 and 50 respectively, Murray was relatively quiet in game seven. The starter finished with 17 points (7-21 FG, 2-2 FT) and four assists, shooting just 1-6 from the three-point line. Murray’s squad had yet to win a game in which he struggled, but one of his teammates stepped up in his stead. Center Nikola Jokic tallied 30 points and 14 rebounds to push the Nuggets to a thrilling 80-78 win.
Denver starts its Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at 9:00 p.m.
Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
Earlier this week, Gilgeous-Alexander finished sixth for the NBA’s most-improved player award.
Full voting results for Most Improved Player below.My ballot: Luka DoncicBrandon IngramJayson Tatum pic.twitter.com/mfkHuGsaMm— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) August 31, 2020
Despite the combination of that distinction and a hard-fought game six win, his Thunder were unable to continue their surprising season, falling 104-102 to the Houston Rockets. The former Kentucky guard ended his season with a solid 19 points, four assists and three rebounds in the loss.
The Rockets move on to the Western Conference semifinals with the victory, and will face off with Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game one of their series is set for Friday at 9:00 p.m.
CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS, GAME TWO'S
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Herro has quickly become a favorite of the Miami Heat fanbase with his electric play. In last night’s close battle with the Milwaukee Bucks, Herro came off the bench and gave the Heat a valuable 32 minutes, including some clutch plays down the stretch.
💥 Herro to BAM! 💥📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/zas25CQvnY— NBA (@NBA) September 3, 2020
While it wasn’t his best showing of the postseason, he finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in the 116-114 Miami victory.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Adebayo continues to be a valuable tool for the Heat on both ends of the court. The runner-up for Most Improved Player scored 15 points (4-8 FG, 7-8 FT) while snagging nine rebounds in Wednesday's game two win.
On the defensive end, Adebayo was again tasked with slowing down Bucks superstar Giannis Anteokounmpo. That proved difficult, as the reigning MVP scored 29 points, grabbed 14 boards and fouled Adebayo out of the game with 44 seconds remaining. Bam’s contribution proved to be enough though, as Milwaukee’s late comeback fell just short and Miami squeaked its way to a 2-0 series lead.
Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks
Making his first appearance in this ongoing publication, Bledsoe was back in the starting lineup for the Bucks after missing game one with a right hamstring strain. The Milwaukee guard lit up the first half, scoring 14 points before the break. The second half, though, was a different story. He struggled, making just one field goal in that time.
He ended the game 6-of-14 with 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists. The Bucks will look to get in the win column against the Heat in Friday’s game three. Tip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The NBA Playoff Bubble series is a subset of "Where the Wildcats Are", a Kernel series diving into the professional careers and lives of former Wildcat athletes. Other articles in this ongoing series include the 2020 NFL Draft Preview.