The race to the Play-In tournament is heating up, as both the East and West have teams jostling for positions to get out of the “March Madness” style Play-In tournament!
The East has two of the heavy weights trying to avoid 7th position, with last season’s Eastern Conference finalists, Miami and Boston, fighting to get into the 6th spot, and a likely first round match up with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Miami in their final 6 games visit Boston twice, one which may decide 6th spot if they can grab both games, but following that play Philly at home, then travel to Milwaukee in their 2nd last game of the season.
An extremely tough end to the season!
Boston will look to hold home court when Miami comes to town twice, then finish at Cleveland and Minnie, before a blockbuster last game against the Knicks in New York, a team who may very well be playing for 4th position in the East at that stage.
Dallas have a soft run home, with 6 of their last 7 games coming against teams below them.
The Lakers next 4 games may very well decide where this team finishes this season, coming up against their cross town rivals in the Clippers (confirmed without LeBron), travelling to Portland in a huge game on Saturday, followed up with Phoenix and the Knicks at home.
Indiana won’t be giving up without a fight, given they’re trying to hold on for 9th in the East, with the Pelicans currently 1.5 back of the Spurs in 11th, and that last match up could very well be a decider to get into the Play-In for the Pels!
Portland have their next 3 games at home and will need to hold home court to give themselves a chance of avoiding the Play-In.
Their final 3 games are incredibly tough, finishing up at Utah, at Phoenix and home to Denver.
Playoff basketball is definitely starting early out west, and this is exactly what the NBA envisioned when they drew up this idea for the Play-In!
Reports from earlier in the week about the Play-In potentially costing the NBA plenty of dollars if the Lakers or the Celts were to miss the actual playoffs due to losing in the Play-In are absolutely ridiculous.
If you aren’t good enough to win 1 of 2 games in the Play-In, then you clearly aren’t good enough to make the NBA Playoffs!
That may rate higher than an NBA Finals game!
Bring it on!!