So the regular season ended in a WILD rush to the finish where we didn’t know who was playing who until LATE. Like 11:15 pm on a Sunday night late.
And guess what? For the second year in a row we don’t know the exact seeds for the NBA playoffs because we have play-in games. Are play-in games considered the playoffs? Are they an extension of the regular season?
Not sure really.
The only thing we know is unlike this year, we have an actual tournament on our hands to decide the #7 and #8 seeds in both conferences.
Tonight that tournament begins with the Eastern conference matchups. After Sunday’s madness, we have clarity: the #8 seed Washington Wizards travel to Boston to play the #7 seed Celtics. Winner gets the #7 seed and plays the Brooklyn Nets in a best of seven. The loser plays the WINNER of the #10 Charlotte Hornets and #9 Indiana Pacers game on Wednesday night to see who gets the #8 seed and play the #1 seed Philadelphia 76ers.
Got it? Phew.
So let’s break down these games.
In the early game we got the Hornets taking on the resurgent Indiana Pacers. Nate Bjorkgren, the target of a major smear campaign, has this Pacers team FLYING. They are one of the league leaders in pace of play despite having a roster decimated by injuries late in the season. Yet they still went 8-7 down the stretch but that included wins over the Sixers and Hawks. And they still have MAJOR injury issues. I mean, check this out:
Ouch. And this just broke:
I mean, this is ROUGH. No Caris Lavert? Tough to come back from. And doubly harsh it being health and safety protocols.
But the Charlotte Hornets have been all over the board the last 10 games. They’ve lost their last 5 in a row and 7 of 9 with their only wins against the Pistons and the Magic. They’re not getting Gordon Hayward back, and even Terry Rozier said they are much more predictable in their offensive sets in the last quarter of the season.
I really like the future of this young Hornets squad but I just don’t see the Pacers losing. They are mad, they want to win for Nate and they if they can get healthy? Look out. I think Indy guts out a win.
Then in the late game we’ve got the #8 Wizards at the #7 Celtics.
I’ve said this all year, and got a lot of shit. The Celtics are TRASHHHHH.
I’ve been saying this since the All Star break. The Wizards are dangerous … They gutted out a win against Charlotte with a hobbled Beal to make the 8 seed and I tell you … This is a game that Boston did not want. I’m sure they’d have 100% rather have played the Hornets.
Boston is 2-1 against the Wizards this year, including their last game, a TIGHT 111-110 Celtics win with the fucked up last five minutes where Bradly Beal slipped on Jayson Tatum’s sweat and turned the ball over while Scotty Brooks just swallowed a time out while watching it all happen. Brown did not play in that game, either, but the Wizards beat Boston in a game where they were up by 22 after three and Tatum, Brown, and Kemba were all healthy.
All of this to say is that the Wizards are a bad match up for the Celtics on the best of occasions, but without Brown? Ouch. I think there are WAY too many chemistry issues, coaching issues and roster issues for the Celtics to beat a determined Beal and Russ. Night Night Sleep mask.
I think the Wizards win and will take on the Nets and let me tell you, that is a series everyone wants to see, especially after the way Washington handled business in Brooklyn earlier this year.
Also, if you're a fan of Russell Westbrook, the Knicks, Nets, or Mavs we have new NBA playoff merch on sale in the Barstool Store, More to come very very soon. Also, if you're in Indy, we have a new promo available on the Barstool Sportsbook App. You can earn up to $100 for every Pacers playoff win. Opt in and place a CASH ML bet on the Pacers prior to their play-in game tonight. Earn a cash payout equal to your original stake for every Indiana win throughout the NBA postseason. If I lived in Indy, I'd make that bet immediately.
Also, make sure to bet responsibly!