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Bubble Blogs: Dwight Howard learns about masks, Dion and J.R. have a bubble bromance

Dwight Howard learned about the importance of masks the hard way, while Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith are becoming the Lakers comedy duo we didn’t know we needed. All that and more in our latest bubble blog.

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NBA Restart 2020 - All-Access Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Earlier in this series, we covered how Lakers veteran Dwight Howard went on Instagram Live and claimed that he’d received a warning from the NBA for not wearing a mask because someone told on him to the league (possibly during his lonely DJ Dance Party).

But as amusing as the story of Howard getting snitched on is on its face, not following common sense with regards to masks is a serious issue in the United States right now, and isn’t something to take lightly, even in the bubble.

“We all should be wearing masks,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel during his Friday morning Zoom call with the media.

Vogel said the league did inform him of Howard’s warning, and while talking about what parts of the safety precautions the NBA is taking he sees as most important — and not Howard’s violation specifically — it was clear just how seriously Vogel is taking following the league’s rules.

“All these habits factor in,” Vogel said. “We’re all making great sacrifices to be here for the longevity of it. We’re going to be here to have a chance to finish our season, for the Lakers to have a chance to compete for a championship, and for really the whole league to have an opportunity to sustain the health of our league.

“If we’re not going to follow the little sacrifices day-to-day, it really negates the big sacrifices we are making. The social distancing, the trying to wear a mask in every situation that you should be wearing a mask, all of these things contribute to as clean of a bubble as we can create,” Vogel continued. “They’re all every bit as important as the major sacrifices we’re making.”

It seems he got that point across to Howard as well, so there shouldn’t be a repeat dialing of the so-called “snitch line” for the same violation.

“In and around the hotel lobby and areas we’re being asked to wear a mask, we should wear a mask. And he’s doing so now,” Vogel said.

A Bubble Bromance

Covering games and practices remotely has some drawbacks from a media perspective, but one of the silver linings so far has been that players having to wait on each other has a) made the whole thing take less time, and (more importantly for anyone reading this) b) led to players waiting nearby each other during their interviews, occasionally providing some funny background commentary to questions posed to their teammates, or the answers they’re giving.

The best — and funniest — example of this so far came from (as you might expect) J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters. The two newest Lakers turns talking on Friday morning, and I am now confident declaring that they’re the comedy duo 2020 absolutely needed:

More practically than laughs and good content, the two also have the potential to help the Lakers, at least based on what Vogel has seen from them in practice so far.

“They both bring toughness and swag. Those guys are killers. They go after it with great competitive spirit, and they have the talent to back it up and be highly productive on the court,” Vogel said.

“They’re being asked to come into an already strong locker room where our chemistry has been a real strength of ours this year and fit in, and contribute in a positive way. Anytime you introduce a new personality into your group it can alter your chemistry,” Vogel continued. “Their goal is to come in here and make sure that if it’s altered, it’s altered in a positive way. So far both of those guys have had that mindset and have done a great job fitting in and contributing with a positive attitude.”

Even if that’s meant making sure no one starts any shit.

Bubble Vlogs

JaVale McGee dropped the latest episode of his excellent “Life in the Bubble” series on his YouTube channel on Thursday. And this one has a ton of funny moments, from Danny Green calling his time in the bubble so far “ass-tastic,” to Howard exclaiming “this is some bullshit” when told the chairs surround the practice court were actually six-feet apart (okay, so maybe he hasn’t fully accepted all the guidelines yet. He’s far from the only person, unfortunately).

The other thing we got from McGee’s latest vid is some footage of the Lakers shooting in the gym, something that’s still all-too-rare even after almost a week of practices:

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The Lakers have SHOOTERS ( @javalemcgee)

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Keep them coming, JaVale!

The Other Kind of Viral

The Lakers haven’t provided quite the sheer volume of social media gold that they did in the opening days of their time in the bubble, but there have still been a few useful updates. For one thing, while Vogel had said he wasn’t planning to have Rajon Rondo start helping to coach the team immediately, it seems Rondo may have other ideas after his successful thumb surgery:

Elsewhere, Waiters and Smith gave us some sneak peaks of their jersey numbers...

...and the Lakers’ upgrades to their team meeting room:

Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are clearly feeling the effects of their first week back at practice (and in Kuzma’s case, from being away from his dog):

Workouts causing pain and missing their dogs? I think this whole trip has actually just made NBA players more relatable than ever.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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