NBA: Exciting end-to-end games as play-offs heat up

Basketball

NBA: Exciting end-to-end games as play-offs heat up

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, September 11, 2020

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Since the restart of professional sports in late July, sports fans have been treated to almost non-stop action on the field, on the court and on the ice. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, this sports whirlwind is expected to continue well into the year 2022.

For the first time ever, the National Football League (NFL) begins its season in the heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs and, considering the slated start of the 2020-21 NBA season this December (or January 2021), the NFL season will also overlap into the next NBA season for the first time — indeed these are strange times.

On the subject of strange, the Milwaukee Bucks took their NBA-best regular season record into the play-off series with the Miami Heat, and managed to win only one of five games played. Granted, the Bucks played Game 5 without all-star Giannis Antetokounmpo but the only game they won (Game 4) came when the reigning MVP exited early with a sprained ankle.

The Bucks finished with the league's best record in each of the past two seasons, but the Toronto Raptors knocked them out of the Eastern Conference finals a year ago, and now, they have been humiliated by the number-five seeded Miami Heat.

The Heat have now advanced to the Eastern Conference finals against all odds, but the real fireworks are taking place in the Western Conference semi-finals. The Los Angeles Lakers are in a ding-dong battle with the Houston Rockets, while the Denver Nuggets are engaged in a heavyweight bout against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The JustBet top favourites, Clippers and Lakers, are tipped to meet in the finals of the Western Conference, but their current opponents are making that goal as difficult as possible. There has been exciting end-to-end action in both series with the winners in each game being decided deep into the fourth quarter.

And with all the offensive prowess of the players still participating in the play-offs, the defensive highlights are the moments that are most remarkable. Be it the Game 3 block of a dunk by Kawhi Leonard using only his middle finger or the late, Game 3 chase-down and block from behind by LeBron James.

Of late, LeBron appears to set a record every time he steps on a court and his escapades in games 2 and 3 of the current series were particularly meaningful. On Sunday he tied former Laker Derek Fisher with the most play-off victories (161) and, by hitting his 386th play-off three-pointer, he passed Ray Allen for second place on that all-time list. He now trails only Stephen Curry in that regard.

On Tuesday last, LeBron led the Lakers to a 112-102 defeat of the Rockets and earned his 162nd career play-off victory which placed him in an elite category.

Fisher played until he was 39 and spent the bulk of his career in the Lakers' championship runs led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He was with the Golden State Warriors (2003-2005) but spent 2012-2014 with the Oklahoma City Thunder and, thanks to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, won a total of 28 play-off games which took him to the 161-win mark.

LeBron is 35 years old and based on all indications, he is likely to be around for a while longer and push these (and other) records a good deal further. But, while these accolades are astounding, like every other player, championships matter.

Fisher was a member of five championship teams, while LeBron has accumulated three – earned over a span of eight years where he reached eight consecutive NBA Finals. Time will tell how many championships LeBron will amass, but his play-off consistency and longevity is a rarity in the modern NBA. Until someone else finds a way to reach the Finals eight times in a row, they simply are not likely to play enough play-off games to reach the postseason wins LeBron now boasts.

Throughout the NBA play-offs (and indeed the sports overload), JustBet continues to offer attractive betting options on all popular sports and events (including eSports and virtual games) as soon as they become available. Please visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit mobile.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…Get in the GAME!

NBA Winner
Team Odds
Los Angeles Clippers 3.00
Los Angeles Lakers 3.30
Miami Heat 4.60
Boston Celtics 6.00
Toronto Raptors 6.00
Houston Rockets 0.00
Denver Nuggets 0.00
*Odds are subject to change


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