NBA teams who have the series lead after three matches will more or less move on to the next round, and that will be duly noted by the six teams competing in our three-game slate.
After drawing level at one game apiece, the Lakers and the Nuggets look to extend their win streak to two games to grab a 2-1 lead.
Elsewhere, the Bucks aim to boost their NBA 2021 odds to advance by trying to establish an insurmountable 3-0 lead against the Heat on the road.
Learn more about the latest in the Association as SBOTOP gives you a preview of tomorrow’s set of Game 3’s.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
Tomorrow is considered a must-win for the Heat since no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
After enduring tough losses in Games 1 and 2, Erik Spoelstra’s men now have their backs against the wall and he will need more from the likes of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro.
Jimmy Butler needs to shoot much better from the field. The veteran swingman has only shot 8-for-32 in the first two games and his struggles were highlighted in Game 2 to which he only got 10 markers.
Bam Adebayo, despite leading the team in scoring with 16 in Game 2, looked tentative on offence and Heat fans are imploring him to impose his will there in order for them to have a chance.
Tyler Herro has yet to show up in this series, registering only 14 points total while shooting poorly from the field in the first two matches.
On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo is clearly on a mission after last year’s disappointment against the same team. The two-time MVP has posted solid norms of 28.5 points, 15,5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game so far in this series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. cannot afford to be complacent since they’ve seen things go bad from this position before. The Bucks certainly have this in mind to avoid a repeat of what happened in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.
Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers
The biggest question for the Suns is whether Chris Paul will be ready to go heading into Game 3.
The All-Star point guard had to sit out majority of Game 2 due to a shoulder knock he suffered in Game 1, which meant more minutes for backup point guard Cameron Payne.
Payne did an admirable job trying to fill in Paul’s shoes with 19 points and seven assists, but that level of success doesn’t appear to be sustainable enough to beat the defending champions.
It remains to be seen on whether Chris Paul will be at 100-percent for the next game. Regardless on whether he plays or not, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are expected to assume larger roles.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have yet to hit their full stride despite levelling the series. Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond both played superb in the second game, but the same can’t be said for LeBron James given his lofty standards.
The King had 23 points, nine assists, and two steals and he’s still seemingly getting his feel for this series as he was more focused on getting his co-stars going on the offencive end.
LeBron James is fully aware that the Lakers’ repeat bid rests on his broad shoulders, so I am expecting him to come out more aggressive tomorrow.
Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers need someone to step up other than Damian Lillard in order to retake the series lead over the Nuggets.
Damian Lillard exploded in the first half of Game 2. However, Denver adjusted by putting Aaron Gordon on him and that slowed him down just enough for the Nuggets to tie the series.
Other than Lillard, only CJ McCollum (21 points) and Norman Powell (15 points) reached double digits for Portland.
A huge reason why the Blazers lost Game 2 is because of the huge dropoff from the likes of Jusuf Nurkic and Carmelo Anthony.
The frontcourt duo combined for 34 points in their Game 1 victory. However, in Game 2, their NBA 2021 highlights were scarce since they only had 12 markers.
As for the Nuggets, they’ll go as far as Nikola Jokic takes them throughout this playoffs. Although he has been scoring in bunches in the first two games, the MVP frontrunner has been limited as a playmaker so far by his standards.
Either way, the Blazers are stuck in a pick-your-poison scenario in terms of dealing with Nikola Jokic.