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NBA Playoffs 2020: Updated Bracket Results, Odds and Championship Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, left, shakes hands with LeBron James as James goes to the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The two teams without a victory in the second round of the NBA playoffs possess much different championship hopes. 

The Los Angeles Lakers are down a game to the Houston Rockets, but they still have favorable title odds behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

Milwaukee enters Sunday in a dire situation down three games to Miami in the Eastern Conference. 

The three consecutive losses suffered by the top seed in the East have placed the Bucks in the second-to-last position on the odds chart to win the NBA Finals. 

The Los Angeles Clippers have not been immune to losing to lower seeds throughout the playoffs, but they sit in a decent position at the moment to back up their favorite status.

      

Updated NBA Playoffs Bracket

NBA @NBA

The updated #NBAPlayoffs picture following Saturday's action! #WholeNewGame https://t.co/8PgxWcMFD8

      

NBA Championship Odds

Los Angeles Clippers (+195; bet $100 to win $195)

Los Angeles Lakers (+390)

Miami (+460)

Toronto (+700)

Boston (+750)

Houston (+750)

Milwaukee (+3000)

Denver (+3600)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

       

Championship Prediction

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors

The Lakers and Clippers may face tougher tests than expected to get to a potential Western Conference Finals showdown based off the early returns from their second-round series. 

The Lakers' championship odds have increased since their opening loss to Houston, and they could be sitting at the most favorable price you can get them at. 

Frank Vogel's team can make the proper adjustments to Houston's smaller lineup, led by moving Anthony Davis into the center role and taking JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard off the floor. 

If that happens, Davis could go to work in mismatches against P.J. Tucker and others and create a significant gap between the two sides. 

Davis may be the key to beating the Clippers as well, as he could limit the impacts of Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell with strong defense and by putting them in foul trouble with his plethora of paint moves. 

Davis had four performances with 24 points or more against the Clippers in the regular season and was a few rebounds away from a double-double in each contest. 

If the Lakers win the paint battle and LeBron James owns his matchups with either Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, the Western Conference's top seed should move on to the NBA Finals. 

The other way to lock down the Clippers is by stifling the production of the role players around their two superstars. 

In the July 30 meeting between the two Los Angeles sides, George and Leonard combined for 58 points, but no one else on the Clippers roster had more than 12 points. 

Toronto's title defense is in much better condition than it was two games ago. The Raptors are now level with the Boston Celtics entering Game 5 and carry the momentum in the series. 

Nick Nurse's side improved its defense game-by-game and limited the Celtics to a series-low 93 points in Game 4. 

Only Jayson Tatum produced over 20 points for the Celtics Saturday, while four Raptors had 15 points or more. 

The X-factor on both ends of the ball could be Serge Ibaka, who is averaging 16.1 points per game off the bench in the postseason. 

If Ibaka continues to provide offensive support for Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet and plays well defensively, the Raptors could move on to the next round. 

If Miami and Toronto advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, Ibaka could be crucial in containing the impact of Bam Adebayo. 

Taking away Miami's top paint presence and frustrating its backcourt players at the perimeter could propel the Raptors back to the NBA Finals. 

Of course, defeating the Heat will be a difficult task for any opponent since they entered Sunday with a 7-0 playoff mark. 

But Toronto's defensive expertise and title-winning experience could be the difference-makers in any series moving forward. 

     

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference. 

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