Yani's Column: Lakers and Heat hold advantages to progress to the NBA Play-Off Final 
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 22: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 22, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

As we are beginning to find out which teams may face-off in the NBA Play-Off Final, once again Daniel Huggins spoke to Yani Ourabah who has given his verdict on last week's action!

Lakers 2-1 Nuggets

Anthony Davis seems to be leading the Lakers more-so in the series, what do you make of his performances?

AD is showing everyone that doubted him why those of us who love him, love him! Previously we weren't seeing why plenty of people in the league like LeBron call him generational - he just does so many things that the majority of the big-men in the league just can't do.

These performances will do him a world of good and fill him with plenty of confidence. The game-winning shot in Game Two was the type of shot he needed - it is the type of shot that puts you on a high that you are unlikely to come down from.

Before Game Three, you would think with AD in that kind of form would help the Lakers reach an unstoppable level and there was a huge possibility of a series sweep, but of course the Nuggets pulled one back and have given themselves a chance.

The impact of Rajon Rondo off the bench has gone fairly unnoticed over the play-offs, just how important is he to this Lakers side?

It's huge for a team to have players like Rajon Rondo, who is a sure-fire playmaker, because it's worth noting that there aren't many players like him in the league at all. The Clippers struggled because they didn't have anyone like Rondo this season, whereas the Lakers have LeBron too which makes two players that they can run offence through and it's just so hard to stop.

We have seen this time and time again from Rondo who always steps up in the play-offs, which is something that is becoming more of a formality than anything else.

Do you think the emergence of Michael Porter Jr has been a key factor in the Nuggets' impressive play-off run?

The Nuggets will be encouraged by Porter Jr's development in his rookie season - but lets also not forget the only reason he wasn't a higher pick in the draft was because of his injuries.

He looks sharp and ready to step-up even more to join Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic more consistently in the bulk of the scoring for the Nuggets - which may even make them a Western Play-Off Finals lock in the future.

Porter Jr is simply the jigsaw piece that the Nuggets have been missing and truly without him there, the Nuggets ceiling as a whole is not anywhere near as high as to compared to with him in the team.

What do you think the Nuggets need to do to give themselves the best chance of possibly toppling the Lakers?

The Nuggets have struggled defensively throughout the play-offs, but Game Three they replicated the tenacious offensive force of the Lakers and outscored them, but I don't know if they have it in them to keep replicating the Lakers offence and continue to outscore them. They also desperately need to up the intensity on defence.

Heat 3-1 Celtics

Bam Adebayo is coming out on top against Daniel Theis, just how impressive has he been over the play-offs and what is his ceiling as a player?

We spoke about this last week as the key matchup for the Heat against the Celtics, but Theis has proved himself that he does belong in this Celtics team, but Bam is just that level above.

Bam is an All-Star who will continue to improve, but the key thing for him and the Heat is if he can improve his mid-range shot - which would make them wildly dangerous. If Bam starts making use of the space the Celtics are giving him at mid-range and knocking down shots from that region then I think it is a wrap for the Heat.

Tyler Herro hit a career-high 37 points last night to increase the Heat's lead in the series, how important is it for the Heat that they keep ahold of him?

Herro's stock continues to rise and it's no surprise as he became the  youngest player in NBA history to score at least 30 points off of the bench.

He will take the big shots, he will pull up with a big transition three and the mood of the game will change in favour of the heat. His confidence is sky-high and when that Heat team are ticking with Herro off the bench, they simply look unstoppable.

To see the 20-year-old shining like he is, just one game away from the finals is incredible and his ceiling is enormous.

The Celtics have shown over this series that their starters can all hit big numbers in the same game, is there still a strong possibility that they can come back?

This is exactly why people fear the Celtics as a team, they have got a starting line-up which is flat-out dangerous full of players who are stars.

Jayson Tatum is a bonafide superstar, Marcus Smart has been incredible during the play-offs, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown who will be all-stars, and Gordon Hayward returning makes that five guys who know exactly how to put the ball in the hoop.

Is the return of Gordon Hayward a game-changer for the Celtics?

It's worth noting that Hayward is just coming back from injury, but everyone in the Celtics talk about how great it is that he is back and they are all buzzing now because he is important to their system.

He is a favourite of Brad Stevens who had him in college, and he is another guy who can create his own shots which is so important, especially in the Play-Offs. 

Hayward simply in a nut-shell is a role-player who can step-up when he needs to and that is exactly what the Celtics need to get back into this tie and through to the next round.

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