Today and tomorrow's NBA games will be the first of their kind. The 7th and 8th seed in each conference playing for a chance to secure the 7th seed officially and take on the #2 seed in their respective conference in a 7-game series. The 9th and 10th seeds are playing for a chance to play the loser of the 7/8 game and secure the 8th seed and take on each conference's respective #1 seed.
Hornets at Pacers
The Hornets are led by 3 really good guards and normally Gordon Hayward. It was announced Hayward will not play in this game, so LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and Devonta Graham are going to need to have a big game for Charlotte to pull out the win. On the other side, Indiana will be without Myles Turner and TJ Warren due to injury. Malcolm Brogdon may not play either, which would really jeopardize their chances. Charlotte took 2 of 3 from Indiana during the regular season, most recently a 114-97 victory.
Wizards at Celtics
Vegas has Boston as 2-point favorites in this game...which doesn't seem to make sense. Boston recently lost their second best player, Jaylen Brown, to a season-ending injury. They are 2-6 in their last 8 games with the 2 wins against Minnesota and Orlando. Meanwhile Washington is just hitting their stride it seems like, peaking at the right time. Bradley Beal is back from injury, Russell Westbrook is playing at his most competitive level, and their flurry of bigs are holding down the paint. They are 17-6 in their last 23 games, with all 6 losses coming to playoff teams. Look for Washington to use their size at every position to take advantage of Boston's lack of size. A starting lineup of Westbrook, Beal, Hachimura, Bertans, and Gafford has an average height of around 6'8, with the shortest guy being Westbrook at 6'4.
Spurs at Grizzlies
It feels like San Antonio has flown under the radar this season, which is abnormal for a Gregg Popovich coached team. To see San Antonio struggle to make the playoffs is a weird feeling that no one has experienced in nearly 25 years. They still have a chance to make it, but to beat a tough, gritty, young, athletic Grizzlies team will be a difficult task. The Grizzlies took 2 of 3 from the Spurs in the regular season, winning the 2 most recent games by 17 or more. Ja Morant gets his first chance to put on a show in the postseason, something everyone wants to see. He is one of those special players that when he goes airborne you can't take your eyes off of it. Memphis' lack of experience could cost them here, with San Antonio's roster having playoff experience, especially Demar Derozan having been in the postseason most years with Toronto.
Warriors at Lakers
Now for the game we have all been waiting for. They met for 4 straight years in the Finals, but now we get to see them in a play-in game. Lebron vs Steph. The 2 biggest names in the game. The greatest player of all time against the greatest shooter of all time. How many times will we be able to say that on a postseason stage? Neither of these teams want to lose this game. As fun as the Warriors and Steph have been to watch this year, it is just hard to imagine a way they beat a healthy Lakers team. If Lebron happens to tweak that ankle he has been having problems with...then we might have a game. Draymond Green is a top 5 defender in the league, but he can only guard Lebron or guard Anthony Davis, he sadly can't guard both. Steph might score 50 but Golden State will still need to find offense elsewhere. A loss for the Lakers could cause for a panic in paradise.
The stakes have never been higher. The lights have never been brighter. The stars have never been bigger. Take a seat, grab a snack, and watch the 48 hours of craziness unfold. Let's go!