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NBA

NBA Play-in tournament 2022: Games and predictions

The NBA play-in tournament begins tonight with the Nets hosting the Cavs. Let’s take a look at the teams to see what we can expect from the Nos. 7-10 seeds.

Jennifer Bubel
Update:

The NBA regular season has come and gone, so now we begin the playoffs. Before the regular playoffs start this Saturday, April 16, we have the play-in tournament which the NBA introduced last year. The tournament gives another chance to the Nos. 7-10 seeds to enter the playoffs with a mini-tournament before the real thing.

Follow our basketball expert, Dane Arlauckas’ live coverage of the Brooklyn Nets vs Cleveland Cavaliers game right here on AS USA.

Here are the teams in the play-in tournament for each conference.

Eastern Conference:

7th seed - Brooklyn Nets

8th seed - Cleveland Cavaliers

9th seed - Atlanta Hawks

10th seed - Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference:

7th seed- Minnesota Timberwolves

8th seed- Los Angeles Clippers

9th seed- New Orleans Pelicans

10th seed- San Antonio Spurs

This tournament will affect the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the East and the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns in the West. The winner of the 7th vs 8th seed game will play the Celtics and Grizzlies and the teams who finish 8th will play the Heat and the Suns.

Let’s take a look at each game and what we can expect.

Eastern Conference

No. 7 Brooklyn Nets vs No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers - Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m. ET

The Nets and Cavaliers finished with the same record, 44-38, but the Nets beat the Cavaliers twice in the regular season to earn the No. 7 seed. The Nets went through much of their season without two of their best players, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they’re back with the team now and they won their last four games in a row. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have lost their last three of their last four. Cleveland will also be missing Jarrett Allen, Dean Wade, and Collin Sexton. Now that Durant is back, the Nets are even harder to defeat. KD has averaged 29.9 points per game and scored 30 or more points in three of his last five matchups with the Cavaliers.

The winner of this game will clinch the 7th seed and play the Boston Celtics in game one of the playoffs. The loser will play the winner of the Hawks vs Hornets game for the 8th seed.

Predicted winner: Brooklyn Nets

No. 9 Atlanta Hawks vs No. 10 Charlotte Hornets - Wednesday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. ET

The Hawks and Hornets also finished the regular season with the same record, 43-39. The Hawks are led by their star player, Trae Young, who had 28.4 points per game and 9.7 assists. It could be a close game with the Hornets’ fast-paced game and long list of talented players. The Hawks have the advantage of having more experience in the playoffs and the Hornets have the disadvantage of being a bit weaker on defense. In their last four regular season meetings, the Hawks averaged 115.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field.

The winner of this game will play the loser of the Nets vs Cavaliers game for the 8th seed. The loser will be automatically eliminated.

Predicted winner: Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference

No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves vs No. 8 LA Clippers - Tuesday, April 12, 9:30 p.m. ET

The Timberwolves finished the season 45-35 while the Clippers finished 39-40. Though their record is a bit worse, the Clippers are coming off a five-game win streak. They played a good chunk of the season without their star forward Paul George, who’s now back with the team and making the difference. The Timberwolves are led by Karl-Antony Towns, who averaged 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds in the regular season. However, Towns has only managed to get 15 points on 42 percent shooting in the Wolves’ three games vs the Clippers this season. Minnesota is good in the attack, but the Clippers’ defense is good, too.

The winner of this game will clinch the 7th seed and play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. The loser will play the winner of the Pelicans vs Spurs game for the 8th seed.

Predicted Winner: LA Clippers

No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans vs No. 10 San Antonio Spurs - Wednesday, April 13, 9:30 p.m. ET

The Pelicans finished the season 36-46 and the Spurs just two games behind at 34-48. In the regular season, though, the Spurs beat the Pelicans in three out of their four matchups. It could be quite a close game in the play-in, with Dejounte Murray back for San Antonio and CJ McCollum leading the Pelicans. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does always seem to manage to get his team into the playoffs, though. With Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Jakob Poeltl on the squad, their offense is stacked. In fact, the Spurs are rated No. 14 in offense to the Pelicans’ No. 16. As far as defense, the Spurs have the leg-up on the Pelicans there too, rated No. 2 to New Orleans’ No. 12.

The winner of this game will play the loser of the Timberwolves vs Clippers game for the 8th seed. The loser will be automatically eliminated.

Predicted Winner: San Antonio Spurs

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