As a reminder of how the tournament works, the # 7 and 8 seeds will play to determine who will officially capture # 7, with the loser of that match then facing the winner of match # 9-10 for seed # 8.
Here’s a look at the first two matches that will be played on Tuesday, with a prediction on who will be the winner of each match, as well as a hypothetical look at the decisive No.8 competition that will be played on Thursday night.
(7) Celtics vs. (8) Wizards
Fueled by the remarkable past six weeks, the Washington Wizards have gone from a team that almost everyone expected to disappoint once again and completely miss the play-in tournament, to arguably the team the hottest and most dangerous of the entire post-season, leave the play-in tournament alone.
Thanks to the brilliance of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, as well as strong backing play from mid-season acquisition Daniel Gafford and Robin Lopez, the Wizards were nearly unstoppable, posting a league-best 17- 6 since April 7 and a top – a net score of five during that time that saw them move up the leaderboard from No.13 in the East to No.8.
On the other hand, the Boston Celtics, Washington’s opponent on Tuesday, have moved in almost exactly the opposite direction.
After a roller coaster season, it’s fitting for the Celtics to start their post-season pursuit in the play-in tournament, as a combination of bad luck injury and, perhaps, just a hangover after failing. in six games at the Miami Heat. in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, which saw them fail throughout the season.
An unfortunate microcosm of the Celtics’ kind of season could be seen in their last eight games, as they dropped out of six of those competitions and suffered the grueling loss of all-star striker Jaylen Brown who will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury.
Brown was Boston’s second-highest scorer, averaging 24.7 per game, but even without him, it’s not like the Celtics would lack firepower as they still have compatriot Jayson Tatum, as well as Kemba. Walker, who appears to be in good health as well. as possible after being out of Boston’s last three games.
It’s a one-game series, and with the overflow of talent the Celtics boast – remember they also have players like Marcus Smart, Evan Fournier, and Tristan Thompson on the roster – they certainly can do it. work and officially lock the No. 7. plant. However, given the heat of the Wizards in the home stretch of the season and the cold in Boston, it’s tough to bet against Washington in any game these days.
Prediction: Wizards win.
(9) Pacers contre (10) Hornets
The Indiana Pacers had a tumultuous end to their season as they slowly and precipitously slumped in the Eastern Conference standings to finish in 9th place.
Along the way, there was a horrific explosion on the bench between Pacers assistant Greg Foster and backup center Goga Bitadze, which then led to a report of Launderer report, who criticized the Pacers and their head coach Nate Bjorkgren, in particular – a report that the Toronto Raptors, Bjorkgren’s former team, expressed disdain, saying some of the details in the report about Bjorkgren were wrong.
Despite all of that, the Pacers have managed to scratch and fight their way to the No.9 seed in the East, and have finished 4-3 in their last seven games, including a win over the Philadelphia 76ers, first place. .
Yes, it’s been a tough season for the Pacers and some of the turmoil described in this Launderer report The story is bound to be at least somewhat true, but as they approach their one-off Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets, you have to love their chances because they are the most talented team.
Or at least they should be more talented. One area of concern for the Pacers is their injury report before Tuesday. They will already be without TJ Warren and Myles Turner, who are both out for the season, while all-stars Domantas Sabonis and floor general Malcolm Brogdon are both considered “questionable” for Tuesday’s game.
Sabonis and Brogdon are probably the two best players in Indiana and if they can’t make it that would leave Caris LeVert on an island tip to fend off a young and hungry Hornets team who could have been more dangerous if that was not for the unfortunate. end-of-season injury to Gordon Hayward earlier in the season.
Still, the Hornets have players like Terry Rozier, Devonte ‘Graham, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk and, of course, possibly Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball.
Such talent will always be dangerous in a unique situation, but the reality of Charlotte’s situation is that this is a team that fell apart to end the season, losing six of their last seven games, including their last five. in a row.
Playing postseason basketball of any kind will be useful for the growth and development of the Hornets’ young guns, but it probably won’t be until this game on Tuesday.
Prediction: The Pacers win.
(7) Celtics vs. (9) Pacers
In our hypothetical Thursday night game for the No.8 seed based on who we think wins in Tuesday’s games, the same issues will likely persist for both teams as they battle for that final spot in playoffs.
That said, of these two clubs, the Celtics are safer to trust. It looks like Boston has the potential to be healthier than Indiana – even if Brown is out – and the Celtics would brag about the best player on the field at Tatum, no matter how healthy Indiana is.
In a win-win situation, overall talent matters, and the Celtics are simply the most talented team.
Prediction: The Celtics win.