I love the play in tournament. I didn’t think I would when they announced it at the beginning of the season, but now that I see the matchups I’m glad they chose to do it.
The Warriors are playing the Lakers. One game. The winner gets the 7 seed and will play the Suns in the first round. It doesn’t get much better than that. The Loser will have to play either Memphis or San Antonio and risk missing the playoffs altogether. And Memphis is no joke. They have a sneaky good team and could easily end the Lakers or Warriors season if they get by the Spurs.
As far as how the rest of the matchups look out west, every single one is entertaining. Clippers-Mavs is great 4-5 matchup. The Nuggets-Blazers is a solid 3-6 matchup. I’m hoping the Blazers can make a run. I love the way Damian Lillard plays and I’d like to see his team do well. The potential 2-7 Suns-Lakers matchup would be amazing. Will Chris Paul go out early in the playoffs again? Will Lebron and AD be healthy enough to get back to the finals having to win every series on the road? Whoever the Utah Jazz draw, be it LA, Golden State, Memphis, or San Antonio, they’ll likely have their hands full against them in the 1-8 matchup. The Jazz are probably one of the weaker one seeds the league has seen in awhile.
The East also has some great first round matchups in the 4-5 and the 3-6. Call me crazy but I love the Hawks-Knicks matchup. One of those two teams is gonna be playing in the second round and neither one of them has been in the playoffs for many years. I find that interesting. The Bucks drew the Heat in round 1. Last year that was a bad matchup for Milwaukee in the post season. They made some personnel moves since then, we’ll have to see if they work out the way the Bucks would like. I love the Heat. Love the way they play old school basketball. Love that they try to outwork opponents on both ends of the floor. And I love Jimmy Butler. So I’ll be keeping a close eye on this series. The Washington Wizards started this 72 game season 17-32. Since then they’ve played well enough to claw their way back up to the 8 seed and meet the Celtics in a play-in game tomorrow. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they win and take the 7 seed. If they do, that Nets-Wizards series should be an entertaining first round…Westbrook and Beal against Durant, Harden and Irving. A lot of star power in that series. Likewise in the potential Celtics-76ers 1-8 matchup.
If all of the above turn out to be the playoff matchups…for the first time in my life I’ll be interested in every NBA opening round playoff series.
Give the league credit for trying something new and coming up with the play-in system. It made the end of the season more entertaining, prevented middle of the pack and top tier teams from resting their star players, and kept teams from tanking. I hope it becomes a permanent fixture.
Predictions: Portland and Miami make it to the finals. A seven game series ensues. One of the teams ends up winning in triple overtime of game 7…Whichever team has the ball last…on either a Jimmy Butler or Damian Lillard game winning shot.