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NBA Playoffs Conference Semi-finals top performers: Jimmy Butler puts down the Knicks

Saturday afternoon saw a pivotal Game 3 in the series between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks.

With the series tied, the winner of this game would just need to win two of the next four to book their ticket into the Eastern Conference Finals. 

The Heat did just that with a 105-86 win. 

It may have been a team effort with a total of four players scoring in double figures, but it was Jimmy Butler who stood out. 

Butler tallied a game high 28 points, and while he shot just 9 of 21 from the field, he continues to put up huge numbers. 

Butler is now averaging 34.4 points in the playoffs (7 games), and when he shows up, the Heat look like a team that could win the NBA Finals.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James put the Lakers in control

The series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors shifted to LA on Saturday after the Warriors made a statement in Game 2 with a 27-point win to even the series. 

The Lakers, however, responded in a huge way with a 127-97 victory and that effort was spearheaded by Anthony Davis and LeBron James. 

Davis had a game high 25 points, while James added 21 points despite not taking a shot in the 1st quarter. 

This was a huge game for Davis, who did not play well in Game 2, scoring just 11 points. 

Davis is now averaging 21.2 points per game in the playoffs (9 games), while James is averaging 22.1 points per game. 

The Lakers’ success in Game 4 and beyond is dependent on Davis and James showing up every night, and they can take a commanding lead in Game 4, which is scheduled for Monday night.

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Devin Booker and Kevin Durant keep the series alive

Going back to Friday night’s Game 3 between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns, it was a must win for the Suns. 

At the time, they were down 2-0 in the series and no team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit. 

Devin Booker and Kevin Durant made sure they would not have to be the first, as they combined to lead the Suns to their first win of the series. 

Phoenix won Game 3 by a score of 121-114, where Booker and Durant combined for 86 of the team’s 121 points. 

To put that into perspective, no one else on the Suns scored more than 7 points. 

Durant is now averaging 29.3 points per game in the playoffs, while Booker is averaging 36.9 points per game. 

As long as they show up again in Game 4, the Suns should have no issue levelling the series with how these two guys can score at a moment’s notice.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown too strong for the 76ers

The Boston Celtics quickly went down in their series against the Philadelphia 76ers, but in Games 2 & 3, they dominated and won both to retake the series lead. 

Spearheading these wins were Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown. 

In Game 3 this past Friday night, Tatum and Brown combined for 50 points en route to a 114-102 win for the Celtics. 

Tatum is now averaging 26.2 points per game in the playoffs, while Brown is averaging 25.7 points per game. 

Even with Joel Embiid back in the 76ers’ lineup and playing like himself, the combined effort of Tatum and Brown have been much too strong and should only get stronger as this series goes on.

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