T.J. Warren and 5 other NBA bubble surprises

This is the Morning Win. Charles Curtis is filling in for Andy Nesbitt.

What the heck has gotten into T.J. Warren?

I’m really asking! I have no idea.

The Indiana Pacers forward has been a good scorer in the past few years, including in 2019-20. But ever since NBA action has kicked off in the bubble, he’s EXPLODED. He’s averaging 39.7 ppg in the Pacers’ three wins (that includes 53 against the Sixers), and that’s with Victor Oladipo playing too. Whatever it is, Indy is going to keep feeding him until he slows down, and it’s made the Pacers a suddenly-intriguing squad in the East.

He’s not the only surprise from Disney World. Let’s review some others:

1. The Spurs’ four-guard lineup: I just declared San Antonio was suddenly the team who could grab the No. 8 seed in the West, and our Mike Sykes put them at the top of his power rankings of the teams vying for the last Western spot in the postseason. Coach Pop has once again figured out how to adjust with what he’s got. With no LaMarcus Aldridge, he’s gone with a small lineup surrounding shot-blocker Jakob Poeltl, while upping the pace too. It’s working!

2. The Grizzlies’ struggles: Maybe this isn’t a huge surprise to everyone given their inexperience and the fact that the bubble is like a playoff scenario. But they’re 0-3 and just lost Jaren Jackson Jr. for the season.

3. The Nets’ win over the Bucks: Let’s not read too much into Milwaukee’s play against an extremely decimated Brooklyn squad. But the Nets pulled off the biggest upset from a betting perspective on Tuesday. You can’t get more surprising than that.

4. The Rockets’ small ball experiment is mostly working: I had my doubts, but as long as James Harden and Russell Westbrook don’t have bad games like they did in the loss to the Blazers on Tuesday, they’ve got a shot in the West. The only problem, as we keep seeing in the bubble, is they keep getting outrebounded BADLY (on Tuesday, they grabbed 39 boards to the Blazers’ 64). Something to watch going forward.

5. The robot sideline cam is awesome: Who knew we needed a camera angle on the floor of an NBA game that isn’t under the basket?

Tuesday’s biggest winner: J. Cole.

The rapper might be training in an attempt to make it to the NBA, and the Pistons said on Twitter they’d give him a tryout.

Quick hits: Kelly Stafford, Indy 500, Chicago Sky

– Kelly Stafford called out the NFL about its COVID-19 testing system after Matthew Stafford had a false-positive.

– As our Michelle Martinelli wrote, the Indy 500 made the right call to exclude fans.

– Chicago Sky players wore shirts that took a shot at Atlanta Dream owner Kelly Loeffler, calling for people to vote for her opponent in a U.S. Senate race.

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