NBA Finals. ” Lakers and Heat Heating Up the Court “

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NBA teams scored 282,127 points during the most prolific regular season in 53 years, while a record 20 players shot at least 200 3-pointers.

With outstanding defence, two low-seeded playoff clubs are currently advancing to the conference finals.

In a league that has rarely been more offensively focused, the Lakers and the Heat are two of the teams that are commonly regarded as having the finest defences. Both veteran-led teams had excellent defensive efforts to grab 2-1 series leads in the second round.

On Monday night, Miami plays host to the Knicks and Los Angeles plays host to the Warriors with a chance to take control of both games largely due to their superior defensive play.

LeBron James stated, “We’re playing the way we envisioned the Lakers to play. We put our faith in our defence no matter what happens.

In winning Game 3 on Saturday, the eighth-seeded Miami Heat limited New York to 86 points, and in a 30-point rout of Golden State, the seventh-seeded Lakers limited the Warriors to only 100 points five times all season. The victory did not determine the outcome of either series, but they made it quite clear which way both champions preferred to travel.

In the postseason, the Lakers’ opponents are shooting an NBA-low 41.3%, largely due to Anthony Davis. In LA’s nine postseason games, the big man has stopped a stunning 37 shots while also deflecting countless others and playing with the defensive intensity of his best NBA seasons, including the Lakers’ unlikely 2020 title drive.

The Lakers’ head coach, Darvin Ham, said after practise on Sunday, “The biggest thing for me is for us to come out with a mindset to just defend.” “Everything that is offensive is more a reflection of who is in charge and whose acts are effective. I’m not concerned about our offensive strategy as long as our defence, starting with Davis, is strong.

The Heat arrived at work late on Sunday morning to watch film before players dispersed for what would have been considered an off day. There were a tonne of options available, too. Some people chose to attend the Formula One race in Miami Gardens, while others travelled to Sunrise to witness the Tampa Bay Lightning host Game 3 of their NHL playoff series.

Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, remarked, “The guys all understand that we have to get a rest, get off your feet.” “They won’t be loitering around or engaging in that sort of behaviour, but I also don’t want them to only be preoccupied with the game (on Monday). We have to rest up, recover, let your mind kind of wander to other things. … It’s a fun time right now in South Florida. It really is.”

For Miami, Jimmy Butler — even with his right ankle at less than 100% — is on a tear like only one other player in Heat playoff history.
He’s scored at least 25 points in all seven of his appearances in this postseason. That’s the second-longest such streak in Heat history; James had 15 games of at least 25 points on the way to his first championship in 2012.

“He’s on his run right now,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said. “He’s playing at an all-time high.”

He’s shooting 56% so far in these playoffs, 60% from 2-point range. But as far as “at an all-time high,” Butler would disagree, sort of.

Butler asserted, “I think you would say that I was lot better than I am today if you had watched me at Tomball High School because I was very, very powerful then. “I feel at ease. I’m certain. I put a lot of effort into my profession and am incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to represent a team and a city like Miami.”

New York shot 34% on Saturday, which is the second-worst performance of the year, and its 3-point shooting performance declined from 16 for 40 in Game 2 to 8 for 40 in Game 3. Positively, things can’t get much worse. Miami, on the other hand, struggled offensively in Game 3 as well, shooting 39% from the field and 22% from 3-point range.

Paul Randle. Although he had a game-high 14 rebounds in Game 3, he only shot 4 of 15 from the field and made none of his five 3-point attempts. In the 2021 playoffs, he shot 30%; this year, he is shooting slightly under 35%, and it is obvious that he needs to improve his offensive performance.

Butler made it through Game 3 with his ankle, which still needs treatment. Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson is toughing out an ankle problem, and his backup, Immanuel Quickley, turned an ankle midway through the fourth quarter of Game 3. Quickley is “day to day,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.

— PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. The Heat have to expect that New York will be better offensively in Game 4, and all the Knicks have to do to reclaim the home-court edge is simply win one game. Miami can’t let the momentum pendulum swing back New York’s way now.

The Lakers are unbeaten in their downtown arena since March, going 7-0 with four playoff wins and a play-in victory. They’ve won 10 of 11 at home overall as part of their overall 16-5 surge since St. Patrick’s Day.

The Lakers have shot 83 free throws in the series to the Warriors’ 39, which isn’t really a surprise given these teams’ sharply contrasting offensive styles. Yet the Warriors and their fans are crying foul over the officials’ decisions — even though Golden State was called for 22 fouls to the Lakers’ 21 in Game 3 — and the momentum could shift if Golden State gets to the line more or limits the Lakers’ free throws.

Neither team is significantly limited by injuries, and Davis’ continued good health is the Lakers’ greatest asset. After missing big chunks of the past three seasons, he’s close to full strength — even if Lakers fans hold their collective breath each time he takes one of his many awkward falls to the court.

Pressure is on Golden State. They’ve rallied from a 3-1 series deficit only once in their playoff history, beating Oklahoma City in the 2016 Western Conference finals — right before that 73-win team infamously blew a 3-1 series lead to James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

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