Breaking Down The NBA Play-In

Are you ready for the postseason?

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The NBA postseason is finally here after a long season full of ups, downs, bumps, and bruises, but together we have made it. Now we must admit—a couple of weeks ago, if you had asked us to explain the Play-In, our answer probably would have been meme-worthy (despite the fact that last season had a play-in due to the shortened bubble campaign). Honestly, it’s a concept that we are still getting used to, but we’ve finally got it down.

As it stands, the Play-In is gonna go a lil something like this:

Tuesday, May 18

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• Game 1 (East 9/10): Indiana vs. Charlotte; 6:30 EST, TNT

• Game 2 (East 7/8): Boston vs. Washington; 9 EST, TNT

Tuesday night marks the Eastern Conference showdown between the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th seeds.

Wednesday, May 19

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• Game 3 (West 9/10): Memphis vs. San Antonio; 7:30 EST, ESPN

• Game 4: (West 7/8): Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State; 10 EST, ESPN

Wednesday night will feature the exact same scenario, except it will feature seeds 7 through 10 in the Western conference duking it out.

Now here is where it gets tricky:

Thursday, May 20

• East: Winner of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2; 8 EST TNT

The winner of Game 1 (Indiana vs Charlotte) will face the loser of Game 2 (Boston vs Washington). So for example: if Indiana beats Charlotte, then Charlotte gets eliminated. Indiana would then await the outcome of Boston vs Washington. If Boston wins, they’ll automatically secure a playoff spot, which means they get to chill for a couple days. Washington, however, will have to face Indiana, where both will compete for an official playoff spot (loser goes home).

Now back to the Western Conference:

• West: Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4; TBD, ESPN

The Western Conference will feature the exact same scenario. The loser of Game 3 gets eliminated from playoff contention, whereas the winner will face the loser of Game 4 (the winner automatically advances). So just for clarity, if Memphis beats San Antonio, then San Antonio gets eliminated. Memphis will wait for the outcome of Los Angeles vs Warriors, and will face the loser of that matchup for a final shot at the playoffs.

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Pacer vs Warriors / Getty Images

So now that means we have to do our official predictions right?

Here we go:

Eastern Conference

Indiana will defeat Charlotte to move onto the next round, which means the Hornets will go home.

Boston will beat Washington to secure their official spot, which means Washington will have one more opportunity to get into the playoffs.

Indiana and Washington will battle each other in the final round, with Indiana emerging victorious, and Washington going home.

Western Conference

We are going to go bold and call a Spurs upset. That means San Antonio will advance and Memphis will be eliminated.

The Lakers/Warriors matchup could go either way (especially with Stephen Curry playing out of his mind), but we have the Lakers beating the Warriors.

That means the final round would be Spurs vs Warriors, and for that one, we'll go with the Warriors.

That’s all we know for the time being in regards to the actual Play-In, as we will have to wait for the actual games in order to get the answers to the many other questions we all still have. We’ll be covering the Play-In all week, so be sure to stay tuned for further updates.

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