We had a little taste of a Play-In Game last season in the NBA bubble, with Portland and Memphis going down to the wire in the 8-9 Play-In game.
This season, we get a March Madness style Play-In Tournament and it’s going to be awesome!
8 Teams go into the Play-In Tournament with only 4 spots up for grabs across the two conferences, as Indiana and Charlotte go head to head tomorrow, with the winner facing off against the loser of the Boston and Washington match up.
It’s win or go home for Indiana and Charlotte, whilst the loser of Boston and Washington gets another shot at getting into the Playoffs 2 days later vying off for the 8 seed, and the right to face off against the Philadelphia 76ers.
For 3 straight seasons we were treated with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. LeBron James v Steph Curry.
Now, they face off in the Play-In Tournament Thursday, going toe to toe to finish 7th and a date with destiny against the Phoenix Suns in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs.
The loser of tomorrow’s contest goes on to face the winner of the Grizzlies and Spurs match up.
All this Spurs franchise does is make these big games, and that coaching advantage may very well give the Spurs the edge over a young and hungry Memphis Grizzlies team!
East Play-In Predictions:
Indiana are a bit of a mess at the moment, but do seem to have an edge on the experience front against this young Charlotte team.
That may be the only edge they have if Malcolm Brogdon is no good tomorrow.
Charlotte get the chocolates tomorrow in what should be a fairly tight contest.
Boston hosting Washington. How the mighty have fallen!
Boston have looked awful this season, and were only a win or two away from making the NBA Finals last season.
They look nothing like that team from the bubble, and with the injury to Jaylen Brown ruling him out for the remainder of the season, it’s hard to back this team going forward.
Washington are full steam ahead to finish this season, and with their star back court in Beal and Westbrook firing, they’ll do everything in their power to secure the 7 seed and lock up an extremely fun Round 1 match up against the Brooklyn Nets.
Which leaves us with Boston facing off against Charlotte to finish in the 8 slot.
If Charlotte can get Gordon Hayward back, they’d be the pick.
If they can’t, then Boston stumble into the 8 spot, only to be swept (or a game if they’re lucky) at the hands of the 76ers.
West Play-In Predictions:
Speaking of how the mighty have fallen, the Lakers find themselves in this Play-In spot at the hands of some big injuries to finish the season to the likes of LeBron and AD.
That’s no excuse for the defending champs though, they’ve had their chance to finish the season right and they failed to do so.
Steph Curry may very well need to drop close to 50 to get a W in this one, so you’d have to lean to a Lakers win, but would be disappointed if Steph can pull something like that off!
Memphis have been in this position last year, losing to Portland (and were in control for a lot of that game), so they know all about this spot of win or go home.
Memphis depth may cause this over-achieving Spurs team some issues, and may very well get bullied inside, with Jonas Valanciunas having his way over Poeltl.
Which then brings us to Ja Morant v Steph Curry to cement the final Playoff spot, and a date with the Utah Jazz.
Steph Curry trumps all in this instance, but be prepared for some fireworks, as this Memphis team does not go away without a fight!