The 2019-20 NBA campaign will have a special place in the competition’s history. For the first time, we had 22 teams in one place, fighting for the last remaining playoffs spots in Orlando. The players, the coaches, the staff and the fans thus all had an unusual summer. Such a crazy finish of the regular season, as well as the playoffs, deserves a special article, featuring input from NBA experts at leading betting tips site bettingtips4you.com.
The NBA invited 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams as the league restarted July 30. Only the teams that were six or fewer wins below the playoffs line had an opportunity to receive an invitation.
Nevertheless, everything was pretty much known in the East, where the Wizards had been far away from the eighth seed. They quickly lost all hopes as the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic advanced to the postseason as the seventh and eighth seeds. The Bucks ended the regular season as the top seed and entered the postseason as the favorites to go all the way.
The situation was much more complicated on the West, despite Memphis’ enormous advantage ahead of the rest of the field in the battle for the eighth seed in the West. The Grizzlies were four wins up, but the loss in their first game against the Portland Trail Blazers, who also were vying for the eighth seed, foreshadowed the rest of Memphis’ time in the Bubble.
Despite brilliant displays from Ja Morant, Jonas Valanciunas and Dillon Brooks, the Grizzlies had to settle for the ninth spot and a play-in game against the Trail Blazers. Portland had one of the toughest schedules in the Bubble but managed to get just enough wins to beat out the Grizzlies and Suns. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the Blazers to a huge success as the team advanced to the playoffs after beating the Grizzlies in the play-in game. The Phoenix Suns were simultaneously the saddest and happiest story in Orlando, as they won all eight of their games in the Bubble on the back of a phenomenal Devin Booker. Booker averaged 30.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and six assists per game in the Bubble while shooting better than 50% from the field. Unfortunately, these wins counted for little, as Phoenix came 10th at the end of the regular season. The two Los Angeles rivals held the top two spots ahead of the playoffs.
Lakers and Clippers – The opposite stories
Los Angeles Lakers seemed to have lost steam in the Bubble, as they were one of the weakest teams in Orlando before the start of the playoffs. The loss to the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the first-round series between the two teams set off alarm bells, but LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company clawed their way back into the series and won the next four games. The same thing happened to them in the second round against the Rockets, as L.A. dropped Game 1 and then rattled off four straight wins. The Denver Nuggets put up a bit of a fight in the Conference Finals, but the Lakers again won in five games. Anthony Davis and LeBron James were unstoppable as they guided the Lakers to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010.
The Lakers’ intracity rivals were by far the biggest disappointment of the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers were shockingly eliminated by Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, dropping a 3-1 lead in the series.
Heat above all in the East
If the Clippers were a disappointment in the West, what can be said about the Bucks, who ended the regular season as the most impressive team in the NBA? Giannis Antetokounmpo again received an MVP award, but it counted for little as he was powerless against the highly motivated Heat. Miami, led by Jimmy Butler, had an amazing 8-1 record in the two series against the likes of Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. They went on to dispatch Boston Celtics 4-2 in the Eastern Conference finals.
Lakers and Heat – The 2020 NBA Finals matchup
Now, the Heat and Lakers will face off in the Finals. The two teams are very different — the Lakers have a superstar tandem in James and Davis, while the Heat win with depth, teamwork and the superb coaching of Erik Spoelstra. Each team has a duo of stars (James and Davis, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo), and while the Lakers have the two best players in the series, the Heat might have Nos. 3 through 7 on that list.
The Heat have reliable players surrounding their duo (Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro) while the Lakers have a group of X-factors (Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma) and role players who have majorly stepped up in the postseason (Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope).
The teams have divergent makeups, but each stormed their way through their respective conference; neither team has played a Game 7 yet in this postseason. Hopefully, we’ll get one in the 2020 NBA Finals.