Right now, New England’s success will be riding on the play of Cam Newton. If Josh McDaniels taylor’s the offense to Newton’s strengths, New England has a chance to be a playoff team. The defense won’t be as dominant as it was in 2019, but it will still be a strong unit. The Patriots will make a strong run at their 12th straight AFC East title, but they’ll need a lot of things to go their way to keep the streak alive. The Eastern and Western Conference semi-finals are in full swing in the NBA bubble in Orlando. Thus far, we’ve seen some very surprising outcomes. Let’s take a look at each series so you can put your bets against their NBA Playoff odds.
NBA: Rundown on NBA Playoff Games
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Heat lead 3-0
With the Heat up 3-0, and Giannis Antetokounmpo questionable to play in Game 4, things aren’t looking good for the team that had the best regular season record. Antetokounmpo injured his ankle early in Game 3 and continued to play on it. With the Bucks season on the line, we foresee him playing in Game 4.
The Heat have yet to lose a playoff game, and have dominated the Bucks all season long. Jimmy Butler has led the Heat in scoring, and has brought a powerful energy to the Heat. The Heat have played tremendous defense, not allowing Antetokounmpo to get to the rim. They have also made it hard on Khris Middleton and the other Bucks 3-point shooters.
Offensively, the Heat have looked like a championship team. With Butler firing on all cylinders, and the Heat shooters hitting 3’s with consistency, the Heat have put on an offensive clinic, dominating one of the league’s top defenses. It will be very tough for the Bucks to come back from the 3-0 deficit.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics: Series tied at 2
While Boston looked good in the first 2 games, and looked like they were well on their way to going up 3-0, Kyle Lowry and the Raptors had other plans. Lowry made a great inbounds pass to OG Anunoby, who hit a 3 at the buzzer to give Toronto the Game 3 victory. Toronto then rode that momentum into Game 4 to tie the series at 2.
Pascal Siakam had been struggling, but he has come on in the last two games for the Raptors. Combine that with Lowry’s stellar play, and the Raptors ability to knock down the 3-ball, and you have a new series.
As for the Celtics, they’re going to have to fix their defense to get out on Toronto’s shooters. They’ll also need huge efforts from Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. If these 3 can replicate their Games 1 & 2, things look good for the Celtics.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets: Series tied at 1
The Clippers dominated Game 1, as the Nuggets looked worn out from their 7-game series with the Utah Jazz. In Game 2, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic led the way as the Nuggets outlasted the Clippers, tying the series at 1 apiece.
Kawhi Leonard struggled in Game 2, so look for him to get back on track. With Patrick Beverley back in the fold, the Clippers should be able to tighten up their defense and keep the Nuggets stars in check.
Denver has a lot of depth and can come at you in various ways. If they can play enough defense, they have a shot at upsetting the Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets: Rockets Lead 1-0
Behind the hot-shooting of James Harden, the Rockets upset the Lakers in Game 1. The Lakers will struggle to guard the Rockets offense, as there will be some defensive mismatches. By the same token, Houston will struggle to guard LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Offensively, the Lakers struggled in Game 1 and never got into a rhythm. Rajon Rondo made his return to the Lakers lineup, so Frank Vogel had some different combinations out on the floor. We’ll see what kinds of counters he’ll have for the Rockets for the rest of the series. If Houston continues shooting well, the Lakers could be in trouble.