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Lakers take commanding lead, Celtics fight back

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’re getting closer to the finish line, folks. Within the next two weeks or so, we will crown a 2020 NBA Champion, which is incredibly exciting. Let’s get an update on where we’re at, starting with the Heat and Celtics series.

Heat/Celtics

I’ll give credit to the Celtics, they finally played like the Boston Celtics. Good for them. They brought the series to 3-2, which is, well, better than being down 3 games to 1.

In all seriousness, I’m fascinated by this series. I know 3-1 deficits are supposed to be a death sentence and winning 3 in a row is brutally tough, but when you examine each game as an independent event, it doesn’t seem so crazy. I still think the Celtics are the better team with the best player. The odds are against them, but I’m not completely counting them out until they’re eliminated.

It might’ve been controversial to say the Celtics have the best player, but I do think Jayson Tatum is the best player in this series. He’s phenomenal. He can be quiet for a quarter or two, but then he just erupts. He has issues pretty much with anything other than a jumper, but it speaks to how good of a shooter he is that he’s still able to torch teams that way.

The Heat are still in a good spot. They’re up 3 games to 2 and are just one win away from their first finals appearance since LeBron James left. I just wouldn’t totally write off the Celtics quite yet. They need more from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo than they got last night.

Lakers lead Nuggets 3-1

Predictably, a lot of the noise around this series has gone to officiating. I get it, both teams feel they aren’t getting a good whistle. Shocking stuff, really.

The disappointing part is that noise is taking away from a great series. Sure the Lakers have a commanding 3-1 lead in terms of the scoreboard, but this has been a great matchup with some outstanding basketball being played.

The biggest breakout star of the postseason was Jamal Murray before this series started, and he’s continued on that trajectory against the Lakers. Murray is so dynamic with the ball, mainly because he’s so unpredictable. He uses a unique array of spin moves, pivots, and reverse-pivots to open himself up for shots. He is simply sensational. He has that “dog” in him, and he’s terrifying in the fourth quarters of games. He has made it almost impossible not to root for Denver.

It’s impossible to talk about the Lakers lead in this series without first discussing Anthony Davis. He’s been the Lakers best player against Denver, which is no small feat when you share the court with LeBron James. His shot-making has been sensational.

Speaking of LeBron, he hasn’t looked quite right yet offensively. Primarily, he doesn’t look like he trusts his jumper. The Lakers might be able to get by Denver, but they’ll need him to find that against either Miami or Boston. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t find it, but it’s something to watch.