The Heat and Lakers threaten to throw the NBA playoffs into chaos

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

This year’s NBA playoffs are already unlike any other. The Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies find themselves in a 3-1 hole despite being the #1 and #2 seeds in the Eastern and Western conferences, respectively. Although they still have a chance to come back and win their respective series, teams down 3-1 go on to be eliminated 95% of the time.

Those aren’t great odds, and the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers are definitely better than the typical eighth and seventh seeds. Jimmy Butler’s 56-point Game 4 explosion was an all-time performance. In fact, it was the fourth-most points ever scored in a playoff game.

The Heat did get some injury luck, with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo missing Game 2 and Game 3. Still, the Heat took Game 1 and made the most of their two games in Miami. Now Miami needs just one more big game from “Playoff Jimmy” to stun the team with the best record in the NBA and shake up the postseason.

The Grizzlies also had poor injury luck, with superstar Ja Morant also missing two games, but the Lakers have used a balanced attack to put Memphis on their heels. In Game 4, Austin Reaves led the Lakers in scoring, but LeBron James also had a historic double-double. Not to be outdone, D’Angelo Russell hit three straight threes to take Los Angeles from being down 7 points midway through the fourth quarter to up 2.

Their defense took over in overtime, holding Morant to just 2 points and Desmond Bane, who led all scorers with 36, scoreless. The Lakers being up 3-1 over the Grizzlies, as well as the Heat being up on the Bucks has big potential playoff ramifications.

The Heat and Lakers could shake up the NBA Playoffs.

Should the Heat beat the Bucks, the Heat would face the winner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks series, in which the Knicks also happen to be up 3-1. The Heat vs. the Knicks would give each team a much better chance of making the Eastern Conference Finals, where they would square off against either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, the Lakers would face the winner of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors series, which is currently tied 2-2. Given how the Lakers have played, beating either isn’t out of the question. On the other hand, both the Warriors and Kings have played well enough to beat the Lakers in a 7 game series, depending on who ultimately wins their first-round matchup.

Next. The Lakers are expected to target an All-Star point guard. dark

No matter what, this year’s NBA playoffs are already one to remember, with the Heat and Lakers threatening to bust brackets. Only four eighth seeds have ever beaten a #1 seed, and only five seventh seeds have ever beaten a #2 seed, and neither has happened in the same postseason. Therefore, we could be witnessing history as well as the most wide-open playoff field ever.