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An Update on the NBA Playoffs

Well, it did not look like we were going to get here, but here we are. Times have certainly changed due to COVID-19. Civilians are forced to keep six feet apart from our loved ones, wear masks to every destination, and watch the NBA playoffs on a Wednesday in September. The NBA, who had to make necessary changes due to COVID-19, came up with the idea to keep the best teams in the league in a “bubble” setting in Orlando. Once players and staff entered, they could not leave unless they were eliminated. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that nobody would have seen this coming, but it is important to take this opportunity to keep everyone safe while keeping a level of excitement. And what form of excitement can be better than seeing Lebron James soaring for a high-flying dunk or Damian Lillard knocking down a deep three. 


The NBA playoffs have definitely been a thrill to watch so far. Out the gate, we were hit with a plethora of exciting moments in the first round. Like the back and forth series exchange between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and his scoring prowess helped the Rockets go up 2-0, but Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul’s determination helped the series go to seven games. The Rockets ended up winning the series, but the Thunder showed the basketball world that they could compete with any team in the NBA. Another moment was the comeback the Denver Nuggets had against the Utah Jazz to reach the second round. Being down 3-1 early in the series, The Nuggets entered a mindset only a handful of teams in NBA history down 3-1 could do. This heroic effort was led by guard Jamal Murray and center Nikola Jokic. These first round moments would set up an anxious wait for the second round.


In the bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks were a feared team who were supposed to do major damage in the playoffs, led by the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. But that title went to waste when they were upset by the youthful Miami Heat, led by guard Jimmy Butler. The loss led to speculation that Antetokounmpo could be heading elsewhere this upcoming fall. Another upset took place as the Denver Nuggets, yet again, came back from a 3-1 deficit to the stacked Los Angeles Clippers, becoming the first team to come back from a 3-1 downfall multiple times in one playoff run. 


The Nuggets were energized from these victories and were ready to face arguably the best team in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by NBA legend Lebron James and forward Anthony Davis in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers were quick to humble the hungry Nuggets, eliminating them and ending their Cinderella run. Even though they experienced defeat, they made a great run while surprising many. 


In the East, The Heat ran into the Boston Celtics, a team full of young talent, such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The series came down to the wire, but the defense and shooting ability of the Heat were enough to eliminate the Celtics in six games.


Now, we are upon the final series of the season, and the grandest of them all. The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers will be competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy on ABC. Can the Lakers do what is expected of them? Can the Heat pull off the upset? We are going to have to sit back and grab our popcorn to figure this one out.