SportsPulse: The Celtics outlasted the defending champion Raptors and will now face the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt breaks down what to expect from the series.


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Denver Nuggets earlier this season arrived in Milwaukee at 4 a.m. on the second night of back-to-back. On little sleep, the Nuggets defeated the Bucks in one of their most impressive victories of the season.

Another time this season, the Nuggets dropped into Salt Lake City and had just seven players available against the Utah Jazz. Denver won that game, too.

The Nuggets arrived in Disney a team slowed by COVID-19 — unable to scrimmage 5-on-5 because they didn’t have 10 players there yet.

They were down 3-1 to the Jazz in the first round and won the series. They were down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals, and on Sunday, the Nuggets forced another Game 7 with a 111-98 victory against the Clippers.

“We find ways, we find solutions and we don’t make excuses,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “That’s something we’ve done since the day I got here. Players understand…