NBA Roundup: Lakers drop third straight; LeBron, Giannis, Harden NBA MVP finalists; Suns continue to sizzle

What’s going on with the Lakers?

Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Pacers and T.J. Warren #1 of the Indiana Pacers huddle up during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on August 8, 2020 at The Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

The Indiana Pacers dealt the Los Angeles Lakers their third straight loss Saturday in Orlando.

T.J. Warren sizzled for 39 points in their 116-111 victory against the Lakers.

Warren scored seven straight points in the last two minutes to put Indiana ahead and the Pacers never looked back.

LeBron James had 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Quinn Cook added 21 for the Lakers. Anthony Davis played cold, scoring eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.

Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo scored 24 and 22 respectively for the Pacers.

Their victory put the Pacers half-game ahead of the Philadephia 76ers for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers dropped to 2-4 while the Pacers improved to 4-1. The Lakers are the top seed in the West.

Indiana plays the Miami Heat while the Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets Monday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

MVP derby: LeBron, Giannis, Harden in close battle

LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden have been announced as finalists for Most Valuable Player.

All three have previously won the NBA's top individual honor.

LeBron is seeking to become a five-time MVP, in the company of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan.

On the other hand, Giannis hopes to become the 12th back-to-back winner of the award, while Harden is gunning for his second MVP trophy in three seasons.

Rudy Gobert, meanwhile, is eyeing a third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award.

Also announced are finalists for the following awards:

Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant, Memphis; Kendrick Nunn, Miami; and Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans.

Most Improved Player: Bam Adebayo, Miami; Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks; and Brandon Ingram, New Orleans.

Sixth Man of the Year: Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers; Dennis Schroeder, Oklahoma City Thunder; and Lou Williams, LA Clippers.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee; Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder; and Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors.

NBA regional bubbles for next season?

 The NBA is developing plans for regional bubbles if things don't return to normal – example,  fans in the stands – as a result of COVID-19 next season.

A report said that teams could play one another in one site like the one in Orlando.

Competition would last about a month. Teams would then take a break and move on to the next bubble.

The league is eyeing Dec. 1 as the start of the next season. This season's bubble has been successful so far, with nobody being infected with the virus.

No setting, these Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns controls the ball against Andre Iguodala #28 of the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 8, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

The Phoenix Suns continued their winning streak, notching their fifth consecutive victory Saturday in Orlando at the expense of the Miami Heat.

Devin Booker scorched the Heat with 35 points in their 119-112 victory.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, whose team is not playing in the bubble, has praised Booker’s head’s-up play. However, he said that Booker must get out of Phoenix as playing for the team is not good for his career.

Said Green: "...they've gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he is that kind of player."

Jevon Carter added 20 for the Suns. Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro had 25 apiece for the Heat who are the No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.

The Suns who remain as the only undefeated team in the restart is only 2.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler again did not play for the Heat because of injuries.

In other games Saturday, the Los Angeles Clippers survived the Portland Trailblazers 122-117; the Utah Jazz nipped the Denver Nuggets 134-132; and the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Dallas Mavericks in double overtime 136-132. (Compiled by Tristan Lozano)