SALT LAKE CITY – The electrifying first and second rounds of the NBA Playoffs left fans in anticipation for the Conference Finals.
Even with high expectations, the two series didn’t disappoint.
Nuggets Dominance Shows In Sweep Of Lakers
The Nuggets defeated the Lakers quickly in four games. But, that doesn’t tell the full story.
The average margin of victory for Denver was just six points. LeBron James and Anthony Davis played well also, averaging 27.8 and 26.8 points respectively.
Although the series was highlighted by the best talent, a total of ten players scored in double digits for Denver and LA.
Los Angeles couldn’t find an answer for the star duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The Joker was dominant everywhere on the floor. He posted a triple-double average with 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 11.8 assists.
Murray had one of the best playoff series in his young career. He put up 32.5 points on 52.7% from the field and 40.5% from three.
Overall, both teams played well throughout the series. Denver was just able to control the game in the fourth quarter to walk away with the sweep and the first finals appearance in franchise history.
Celtics Nearly Pull Off Reverse Sweep, Heat Prevail
NBA fans were one game away from witnessing history but Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat weren’t about to let that happen.
Miami dominated in the first three games. They took both of Boston’s home games as well as the first in South Beach.
Everyone began writing off the Celtics, and rightfully so. Of the 150 NBA teams to go down 0-3, zero have come all the way back to win. Only three forced a game seven.
When Boston was able to convincingly win games four and five, murmurs of a comeback grew louder. In game six, Butler got fouled on a three and went to the line with the Heat down by two. He hit all three free throws to give the Heat a one-point lead. With less than a second on the clock, Derrick White corralled a miss from Marcus Smart and finished the layup to force a game-seven.
In the final game, the Celtics struggled. Tatum and Brown couldn’t find any momentum while Caleb Martin and Butler combined for 54.
Tatum played well in the series, recording 25.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. For Miami, Butler performed too with 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists.
Heat culture, known for stifling defense and some of the best coaching in the association, came out on top. With Denver up next in the NBA Finals, the Heat may find themselves wishing they finished Boston off sooner.
Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.
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