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2020 NBA Finals: Lakers vs. Heat Predictions and Picks – Sports Illustrated

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Will LeBron James earn his fourth NBA championship ring? Can Jimmy Butler and the Heat upset the Lakers? The Crossover staff makes their predictions.

The Lakers and Heat are set to play in the NBA Finals on Wednesday. LeBron James will make his 10th Finals appearance, and this marks the Lakers’ first Finals appearance since Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles to a win over the Celtics in 2010.

The Heat last appeared in the Finals during the 2014 season, when James was part of the team. Miami has embraced the underdog role after defeating the favored Bucks and Celtics. Now it faces its toughest challenge yet.

Can Jimmy Butler & Co. get past the Lakers to win the title? The Crossover staff makes their Finals predictions.

Chris Mannix: Lakers over Heat in five

There comes a point when betting against LeBron James just becomes foolish, like hunting for leprechauns at the end of rainbows or believing scratch tickets were the path to eternal wealth. James has played in ten—ten—Finals now and only special teams have beaten him. The Spurs were the Spurs—in 2007 and 2014—the Warriors were a mini dynasty and even Dallas, in 2011, had a little team of destiny thing going for it. The Heat are very good, with Jimmy Butler a bonafide closer and Bam Adebyo a rapidly developing star But they are young—very young—at key positions and don’t really have anyone that can slow James down. Miami is a vastly improved team from the one the Lakers beat twice in the regular season, but L.A. is playing better, too, perhaps its best basketball of the season, with Rajon Rondo emerging in a key role and Dwight Howard turning back the clock. Miami will compete in every game this series. It says here they only win one of them. 

Michael Rosenberg: Lakers over Heat in six

This is a good matchup for the Heat. Bam Adebayo can guard anybody on the floor, and Jimmy Butler is fearless and capable of giving LeBron James problems. The Heat also have more guys capable of going off for 20 points a couple of times—Adebayo,
Butler, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic—and so it would not shock me at all if Miami wins the series. It’s just very hard to pick against James and Anthony Davis right now. They are the two best players in this series, and they have been locked in for weeks.

Rohan Nadkarni: Heat over Lakers in five

La Spoelstra Nostra. Culture. The Godfather. The (More Recent) Block. We Got Shooters. How many more Heat platitudes do I have to throw at you? After sheepishly picking the Celtics in the conference finals, I’m going with my heart over my head for the championship round. (I grew up in South Florida, and I’m one of maybe six people who own a pair of Dwyane Wade’s “Biscayne” Jordans.) All of this means I’m picking the Heat. 

Erik Spoelstra has never lost to Frank Vogel in the playoffs, I’m supposed to believe he’s going to start now? Pat Riley will come down from his plexiglass case of non-emotions and Armani suit-up as an assistant coach if it means taking down LeBron in the Finals. The Lakers were built to win a championship, acquiring top-flight talents in James and Davis and surrounding them with mostly veteran mercenaries. The Heat were built for the bubble, a close-knit group with a comical (and frankly, overwrought) dedication to the grind. This series is a clash of styles, both on the court and in the front office. The Heat have already knocked out the MVP (88 first-place votes, baby!) and the No. 1 seed in the league. I’m not going to fight them anymore. 

Give me Rick Ross over Ice Cube. Give me Udonis Haslem over Wilt Chamberlain. Give me South Beach Riley over Malibu Riley. Give me the Heat over the Lakers.

Michael Shapiro: Lakers over Heat in seven

This is a legitimately problematic matchup for LeBron James and the Lakers, and we could very well have a 2004 Finals redux with an underdog Heat squad in place of the Pistons. Miami sports a deep collection of quality playmakers, and there should be enough size to at least battle Los Angeles’ double-big lineups. Coach Erik Spoelstra will likely lean heavily on the Heat zone. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler should feast in the pick-and-roll against Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. Miami is by no means a pushover as James pursues his fourth title.

Things could get shaky for Los Angeles, but their size and defensive upside should be enough, especially in a potential Game 7 dogfight. Davis is cementing himself as the next great Lakers’ big man. James remains near the peak of his powers as he not-so-quietly reminded us on Saturday night. The strangest playoffs in league history should pave the way for a thrilling Finals. James’s next ring will be hard fought against his former franchise.

Jeremy Woo: Lakers over Heat in seven

I was extremely tempted to pick against the Lakers in a third straight series for the sake of the bit, but I won’t do it. I do think this is going to be close. The Rockets were ultimately too small for Davis, and the Nuggets, despite the ascendant Murray-Jokic combo, didn’t have enough different ways to close games. On paper, the Heat don’t have a glaring weakness for the Lakers to exploit. Frank Vogel will have to be flexible in his approach at center, and his team hasn’t dealt with anything close to Adebayo’s degree of physicality in these playoffs. I’d expect Davis to take that matchup when it matters, despite his strange hatred of playing the five, which should be a treat. Miami will almost definitely wall off the paint and break out its oddly successful zone again in spurts, which will force the other Lakers to make threes. But at the end of the day, LeBron and Davis are the best two-man combination in the league, and they appear to be on a mission. If that’s not enough, what is? Miami’s resolve should extend this series to a breaking point, but it’s hard not to pick L.A.

Elizabeth Swinton: Lakers over Heat in seven

Neither team has needed seven games to win a playoff series so far, but the Finals may change that. The Lakers have the advantage in star power, but the Heat have proved tough to beat in silencing opponents offensively and relying on their balance of young and veteran talent. Still, the Lakers seem to be clicking at the right time with Davis stepping up alongside James. Jimmy Butler will likely make some noise in his first NBA Finals, and Herro is proving his value, but it will be up to the Lakers to wrap up an emotional season with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Robin Lundberg: Lakers over Heat in five

I love the Heat. I really do. They play hard, are unselfish and are extremely well coached. And they’ve proved throughout these playoffs to be legit. So I don’t make this pick taking them lightly or to be cute. I’m just not sure how they’ll deal with the length of the Lakers or whether they have the bodies to keep James out of the paint. On the other end, Miami can certainly shoot but it doesn’t have those players (as big a fan as I am of Butler) who command the attention of the entire defense, like L.A. has already faced. Once the Lakers adjust, I envision their defense swarming and stifling them. Adebayo and what he can do to slow down both of L.A.’s superstars is probably the biggest wild card, but overall, I think the Lakers will be too much. And I don’t see LeBron losing to his former team.

Melissa Rohlin: Lakers over Heat in five

The Lakers are in their sweet spot. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have perfected a reciprocal on-court relationship in which they alternate taking over in stretches and quarters. They’ve done this seamless dance throughout the playoffs, covering for each other as though they’re passing an invisible baton back and forth. That coupled with the way Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard and other reserves have stepped up makes the Lakers unstoppable. The Lakers breezed through each of their first three series in five games, and I don’t see anything changing that this time around. The Lakers are a handful of games away from their first title in 10 years. 

Shandel Richardson: Lakers over Heat in five

The Heat had a nice run behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but this is James’s chance to solidify his legacy among the league’s greatest players. He won’t be denied as he inches closer to Michael Jordan’s GOAT status.

Ben Pickman: Lakers over Heat in six

There’s no doubt that the Heat have both the roster talent and depth to beat the Lakers. Five times throughout the Eastern Conference finals, at least five Heat players scored in double figures, the lone time without five double-digit scorers coming in Game 4, which was still a Heat win. But more than just having a plethora of scoring options, Miami’s wing depth will also make a major difference on the defensive end of the floor, where the Heat have a number of wings to throw at LeBron James, including Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill, Butler and Adebayo. Still, with how James has played in recent rounds (and recent playoffs) it’s fair to question just how consistently any of those players will be able to contain the four-time MVP.

How the Heat handle Anthony Davis might also have more of an impact on the series’ result. Adebayo will likely spend the majority of the time guarding AD man to man, and you can expect the Heat to play a healthy serving of zone to try to bait the Lakers’ inconsistent shooters into firing from three and not feeding AD inside. But if Adebayo gets into foul trouble, who else will guard AD? Kelly Olynyk? Meyers Leonard? That’s a potential mismatch as the series progresses. The Lakers have the series’ two best individual players and a core that is at times inconsistent, but has also made timely plays on both ends.

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Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap offers house for sale after loss to Browns, fight with coach – Yahoo Canada Sports

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Carlos Dunlap appears to be done with the Cincinnati Bengals.” data-reactid=”12″>Carlos Dunlap appears to be done with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end has spent his entire 11-season career with the Bengals, but seemed to reach his breaking point with the franchise on Sunday.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Bengals lost a tight game to the rival Cleveland Browns as quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for five touchdowns against the Cincinnati defense.” data-reactid=”14″>The Bengals lost a tight game to the rival Cleveland Browns as quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for five touchdowns against the Cincinnati defense.

As time wound down, cameras caught Dunlap in a sideline argument with the coaching staff.

Dunlap: ‘I don’t got time for this’

Dunlap lost his starting job earlier this season and wrote, via Instagram on Saturday “I don’t got time for this” alongside a whiteboard image of the Bengals depth chart.

That post has since been removed.

House for sale in Cincinnati

The 31-year-old failed to record a tackle in Sunday’s loss. Immediately after the game, he announced on Twitter that his house is for sale. “Serious inquiries only.” They read:

The tweets have since been deleted.

The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 3. Dunlap is making clear that he wants to be a part of it.

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 29, 2019: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap #96 of the Cincinnati Bengals waits for the snap in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 29, 2019 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati won 33-23. (Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Carlos Dunlap is not taking his new role off the bench in stride. (Nick Cammett/ Getty Images)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More from Yahoo Sports:” data-reactid=”38″>More from Yahoo Sports:

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Prediction: New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills NFL Picks 10/25/20 Odds – Sports Chat Place

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Buffalo Bills (4-2) at New York Jets (0-6)

NFL Football: Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm (MetLife Stadium)

The Line: New York Jets +10 — Over/Under: 48
Click Here for the Latest Odds

TV: CBS Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!

The Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets meet in a week 7 AFC East division matchup in NFL action from MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Buffalo Bills will try to rebound from back-to-back losses after a 26-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night football. In the loss to Kansas City, Josh Allen threw for 122 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception on 14 of 27 passing, by far his least productive passing game of the year as it was Allen’s first game without at least 24 pass completions. Allen also led the Bills with 42 rushing yards while Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combined for 42 rushing yards as well. Stefon Diggs led Buffalo’s receiving group with 6 grabs for 46 yards and a touchdown while Cole Beasley had 4 receptions for 45 yards and a score. On defense, Tremaine Edmunds led the Bills with 12 total tackles while Jordan Poyer had 10 total tackles with a team-high 9 solo tackles.

The New York Jets will look to pick up their first win of the season after falling to the Miami Dolphins by a final score of 24-0 last time out, stepping back to 0-6. Sam Darnold has thrown for 792 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions but is currently dealing with an injury, leaving Joe Flacco to throw for 397 yards, a touchdown and a pick on 51.9% passing. Frank Gore leads the Jets in rushing with 250 rushing yards while Jamison Crowder has a team-high 29 grabs on 48 targets for 383 yards and a pair of TDs. Braxton Berrios has 141 receiving yards with a. pair of TDs as well and Chris Hogan and Jeff Smith each have 100+ receiving yards for the Jets this season. Defensively, Neville Hewitt leads New York with 46 total tackles including 26 solo tackles while Avery Williamson has 27 solo tackles. Marcus Maye and Quinnen Williams each have a pair of sacks while Pierre Desir has 26 solo tackles with a team-high 3 interceptions and Brian Poole has a team-high 28 solo tackles with a pair of picks.

Wonder who the Top Experts Picked? Click Here To Find Out

Buffalo is 1-3-1 Against the Spread in their last 5 road games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games following a loss. New York is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 division games while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.

I get that the Bills are playing on a short week, but the New York Jets have been an absolute joke of a football team so far this season. I mean the majority of their losses have come by double-digits and the Jets aren’t just 0-6 SU, they’re 0-6 against the number as well this year. I just think things will get worse for the Jets before they get better, so I’ll lay the points with Buffalo on the road here by default.

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Chris’s Pick
Buffalo -10

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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Bills' Knox tests positive for COVID-19 – TSN

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Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets.

The team said Saturday he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list along with three players in close contact with Knox — Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney (on the PUP list) and Nate Becker (on the practice squad). They, too, will miss the game.

This is the first positive coronavirus test for a Bills player since the season began. Each of Buffalo’s previous two games were moved from their initial dates because of the the outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization.

The Bills will travel as scheduled Saturday afternoon and continue preparations for the Jets.

Buffalo has two remaining tight ends on its roster — Tyler Kroft and Reggie Gilliam.

Four players were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster — wide receiver Duke Williams, offensive lineman Jordan Devey, linebacker Andre Smith and cornerback Dane Jackson.

The team said backup linebacker Tyrel Dodson (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve.

The Bills were previously affected by a string of false positive tests in late August. They sent their rookies home in late July to work remotely after five players tested positive.

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