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It's time! The NBA post-season is here. Though we aren't quite ready for the playoffs yet, it's time for the new "play in" tournament! What's that I hear you say? Don't worry, I'm here to help you understand what exactly is happening before the playoffs!
Regardless of whether you think the tournament is a good idea, from the perspective of the league, the goal of the "play in" tournament has been met considering this has been the closest regular season in recent memory. The final seeding still hadn't been fully set out on the final day of the season and more teams than ever before were looking to make one last push into the postseason. Crazy scenes!
NBA playoff trophy, the prize they're all fighting for! Larry O'Brien trophy. Source: nba.com
Before we jump into it and go through the specifics of the “play in” tournament, here is a list of the teams that made it there and a quick look at the games.
Number 7 - Boston Celtics
Number 8 - Washington Wizards
Number 9 - Indiana Pacers
Number 10 - Charlotte Hornets
Number 7 - Los Angeles Lakers
Number 8 - Golden State Warriors
Number 9 - Memphis Grizzlies
Number 10 - San Antonio Spurs
Charlotte at Indiana 6:30PM Eastern Standard Time (Tuesday 18th)
Washington at Boston 9:00PM Eastern Standard Time (Tuesday 18th)
San Antonio at Memphis at 7:30PM Eastern Standard Time (Wednesday 19th)
Golden State at Los Angeles at 10PM Eastern Standard Time (Wednesday 19th)
Winner of Charlotte-Indiana Vs loser of Washington-Boston 8PM Eastern Standard Time (Thursday 20th)
Winner of San Antonio-Memphis Vs loser of Golden State-Los Angeles 9PM Eastern Standard Time (Friday 21st)
So what exactly is going to happen? Since we've already set out the teams, their respective positions in their conference and a little look at the schedule as it stands. We can more easily understand the way this is going to work. So essentially you have 4 teams from each conference fighting it out for the 7th and 8th seeds in the playoffs.
A look at the playoff bracket featuring the play-in games. Source: nba.com
For 7th seed, teams must have finished at least seventh or eighth in their respective conferences and from there it's really simple, the winner of that 7-8 game (Washington at Boston and Golden State at Los Angeles) will earn the number 7 seed automatically.
For the 8th seed, it's a bit harder, more hoops to jump through if you will. *deep breath* So firstly, the 9th and 10th place matchups are played (Charlotte at Indiana and San Antonio at Memphis) THEN the winner of that game will play the winner of the 7th and 8th place game. So as an Example, Golden State at Los Angeles, if Los Angeles wins, then Golden State would have to play the winner of San Antonio Vs Memphis to earn the number 8 seed.
It's a pretty harsh scenario because you only realistically get one shot, but it has made the back end of the season and even the start of postseason so much more exciting for the viewers.
The playoffs themselves aren't actually due to start until all of this play in stuff is over, they'll get going on Saturday May 22nd, so we've still got time to analyse the teams and see where is gonna be best to spend our money, for me, even though the Lakers have to play through the play-in tournament, I personally can't look past them when it comes to the big games, especially after last season. Not to mention they currently sit with the best defensive record in the entire NBA.
So for me, I'll be putting some money on the Lakers and I think I'll have a little bit of an outside bet on the Nets. I'm no expert by any means, but I do love me some ball and when it comes to the big stage anything can happen, right? When it comes to putting your bets on make sure you actually watch where you're betting, there are plenty of dodgy betting sites out there, but thankfully there are plenty of places you can go for betting site reviews. Our friends over at SportsBook Review do just that, as an example, here's a lucky99 review, one of the many reviews on their site. Make sure you're spending your money in the best place FOR YOU.
So like I said, for me, I'm going Lakers, they're a different animal when it comes to the big games, they're a franchise steeped in success. Any sane man would look at them and think the same. Not to mention, they have Lebron. Is he getting on now? Yes. He's 36. Does he still absolutely kill it on the court? Absolutely. This man goes from strength to strength.
It isn't just like they're a one man team either, their full squad is full of top tier talent, they've arguably fallen short of where they wanted to be come the end of regular season, I can't imagine they'd WANT to be playing in a play-in tournament, but like I say, when the going get's tough, the tough gets going and all that!
Anyway that about wraps it up for today, I'm super excited for more basketball in the postseason and this new format has really rustled my jimmies if you know what I'm saying. The game has been the same for a while and although many people were unsure of the new format, I personally find it really exciting and again, I know I've mentioned this, but it has made the back end of the season WAY more entertaining, with more to play for technically.
So what do you think? Do you think this new format is better? Do you think they should've just kept it untouched? If you were in charge of the NBA (what are you doing here? Don't you have a league to run?!) how exactly would you do it? Last but not least, who do you have? Where's your money? Let's go LAKERS!