NBA Playoffs 2020: Postseason Odds, Standings, Bracket Results and HighlightsAugust 23, 2020
On Sunday, there's the potential for two teams to win their first-round series and advance to the next round. But even if these teams don't complete their respective sweeps, both are well on their way to eventually moving on to the second round.
The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference, respectively, both hold 3-0 series leads heading into their Game 4 matchups Sunday. The Raptors will be looking to finish off the Brooklyn Nets, while the Celtics aim to sweep the Philadelphia 76ers. Both are unlikely to blow these commanding leads and get upset.
They're not the only two teams that currently have a 3-0 lead. On Saturday, the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 124-115 in Game 3. They'll have a chance to sweep the Pacers in Game 4 on Monday.
Here's a look at the current NBA playoff picture, along with championship odds and some recent highlights from the latest postseason action.
Current Playoff Picture
No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks lead No. 8 Orlando Magic 2-1
No. 2 Toronto Raptors lead No. 7 Brooklyn Nets 3-0
No. 3 Boston Celtics lead No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers 3-0
No. 5 Miami Heat lead No. 4 Indiana Pacers 3-0
No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers lead No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers 2-1
No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers lead No. 7 Dallas Mavericks 2-1
No. 6 Utah Jazz lead No. 3 Denver Nuggets 2-1
No. 4 Houston Rockets lead No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder 2-1
NBA Title Odds
Los Angeles Clippers +250
Los Angeles Lakers +300
Milwaukee Bucks +350
Toronto Raptors +700
Boston Celtics +800
Houston Rockets +850
Miami Heat +2000
Utah Jazz +2000
Denver Nuggets +3500
Portland Trail Blazers +3500
Dallas Mavericks +5000
Oklahoma City Thunder +10000
Philadelphia 76ers +100000
Indiana Pacers +100000
Orlando Magic +200000
Brooklyn Nets +500000
Odds obtained via Caesars Palace
Recent Top Highlights
LeBron, AD Push Lakers Out in Front
Need to see exactly what makes the Lakers one of the most dangerous teams this postseason? Just take a look at what LeBron James and Anthony David did in their Game 3 win over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
After Los Angeles quickly fell behind in the series in Game 1, it's taken a 2-1 lead with back-to-back wins. In the Lakers' most recent 116-108 victory, James had 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while Davis had 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. And both superstars shot 11-of-18 from the field.
"That's just who we've always been," James said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). "That has not changed since the first day we stepped on the floor at training camp."
It wasn't James' first remarkable performance of the series, as he had a triple-double (23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists) in Game 1. It shouldn't come as a surprise, either, as James has always been an elite postseason performer, guiding his team to the NBA Finals every year from 2011-18.
Now that the Lakers are in control over the Trail Blazers, they may just be at the beginning of a deep playoff run.
Leonard Thriving in 1st Postseason with Clippers
Kawhi Leonard has wasted no time putting up big numbers at the start of his first playoff run with the Clippers. After helping the Raptors win the NBA title last year and claiming NBA Finals MVP, Leonard has Los Angeles out to a 2-1 lead in its first-round series against Dallas.
It was Leonard who powered the Clippers to a 130-122 win in Game 3 on Friday night, as he had 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. He shot 13-of-24 from the field and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line as Los Angeles built a 14-point lead by halftime and held on late.
"That was a fast-paced game, but for Kawhi, he can see the game even though it's fast and he's never in a rush and knows where to go," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).
The Clippers have typically struggled the years they've reached the playoffs, as they've never made it to the Western Conference Finals in their franchise's history. But with Leonard and Paul George now in their lineup, they could be poised for a deep run in this year's playoffs, and they've gotten off to an impressive start against the Mavs.
Giannis Powers Bucks Ahead of Magic
After losing in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks are hoping to make a deeper playoff run this season. And after dropping Game 1 of their first-round series against the Magic, they've taken control with back-to-back wins in Games 2 and 3.
It should come as no surprise that reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo powered Milwaukee to victory in Saturday's Game 3. He had 35 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, shooting 12-of-14 from the field in the 121-107 win. The Bucks had a 27-point lead at halftime and cruised to victory.
"Going into this game, I was telling myself when I get close to the rim or when I get my balance right or I go by a guy, just try to finish strong by the rim," Antetokounmpo said, according to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I wasn't thinking about a perfect game at all. I was just trying to focus on my balance and try to finish strong at the rim."
Antetokounmpo and the Bucks should have no problem finishing off this series against the Magic, but they'll have some strong challengers (such as the Raptors, Celtics and Heat) to take down later this postseason.