The final round of the conference playoffs is one step away from the first verdicts. And it could sanction as early as game four. Stradominio Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers who at the Crypto.com Arena impose themselves by 109-118 bringing themselves to 3-0. Similar situation, and similar partial also in the Eastern, where Miami continues to stroll over what remains of the Celtics: last match 128-102 for the Florida roster. The participants in the Finals seem already defined. The winning NBA 2023 will most likely be a matter between Denver and Miami.
For the Nuggets, it would be the first time in their franchise history. And so far no one has ever recovered a 3-0 lead in NBA playoff precedents. All the more reason to believe Murray and Jokic will make it to the Finals without too many stumbles. The Colorado team can cough up as many as three in a row to play it all out in the seventh playoff game, but the scenario seems quite unlikely. After all, the Nuggets have looked like the better team since the series began. It is no accident that they finished as the No. 1 seed in the Western. The Lakers need the feat, but no one has ever managed it. From Los Angeles, Jamal Murray seems the only one who still believes: “Five wins to take the ring.” For their part, Malone’s roster seems built the right way, with patience and planning. No shortcuts. Competitive hunger combines with the knowledge that they can move on to cash in after years of investment. In California, you can sense the nervousness of the Lakers. In Game 3 LeBron runs over the referee and smashes his lip.: voluntariness or coincidence? Provocative the referee: “For 25 years you’ve wanted to do that.”
From Western to Eastern only the landscape changes, but the partial after the first 3 is practically the same. The score smiles on Miami, which won both challenges at Boston’s TD Garden and took home victory at the Kaseya Center. Celtics called for a feat to stay alive, in a series of at least three games that already seems quite compromised. Eighth place at the end of the regular season, Miami upset the odds and unseated the Celtics as favorites. Spoelstra’s roster found crucial success thanks to 29 points from Vincent and 22 from Robinson. Among the guests, the only one who tried to save himself was Jayson Tatum, who had a double-double at 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Now the lead is stellar. The green-and-whites are almost on their last call. The Heat’s success is virtually without appeal and brings them closer not only to the title in the East, but more importantly to a chance to play in the Finals. Revenge, after last year’s Game 7 loss, is almost complete.
Surprising, as much as inexplicable, the collapse of Mazzulla’s roster. And Magic Johnson goads the Celtics after the latest defeat: “Never seen them like this in 44 years.” The former Lakers player practically attacked the Boston team on Twitter, almost blinded by disbelief: “In 44 years of the NBA, I have never seen a franchise capable of winning 17 NBA titles like the Celtics surrender. I’m sure all Boston fans around the world right now are disgusted and heartbroken.” Strong words, those addressed to Tatum & co., that partly hide and partly reveal displeasure for the similar situation of his former team, which is gradually giving way to the Nuggets of Jokic and Murray for winning the NBA Finals. In short, Magic Johnson’s tweet of tweets could also backfire like the most classic of venom boomerangs.
The hottest phase of the season finale now begins. Game 4 of both pairings can immediately sanction entry into the finals for Denver and Miami, delay qualification or put the fortunes of Los Angeles and Boston back on the line. So far in NBA history, there has never been a double “sweep,” or two 4-0 sweeps, in the conference finals. The East and West coasts are quivering to know the verdicts.