2022 NBA Play-In Game Preview: Playing for the 8th Spot!

Will PG Reggie Jackson and the Clippers continue their postseason run after tonight?
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

The last stage of the NBA Play-In ends with these two games. Atlanta is playing Cleveland for the 8th and final spot in the Eastern Conference while New Orleans is traveling to Los Angeles to play the Clippers for the 8th spot in the West. How did these teams get to this game? Atlanta beat the Charlotte Hornets by 29 at home to advance to this game. Cleveland lost to the Nets by 7 and they still have a chance to sneak in and steal the final spot. In a way, the NBA has a great idea but do the games count? Here’s an idea, the NBA should cut the season to 68 games and do away with the back-to-back games. This will allow fans, players and teams to capitalize on fan interaction. Let’s take a look at the last pair of NBA play-in games.

4/15 – 6:30 p.m. – Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers – TV: ESPN
This game will be a close match up. Both teams average 114 points per game and both are pretty solid on defense. The winner of this game will need to play tough on the defensive end. The Atlanta Hawks average 6 steals a game while Cleveland averages 6.2! Cleveland starting center Jarrett Allen will be out for this game and they really need him to protect the basket. The key for Atlanta will be point guard Trae Young. His play will lift his team in the latter part of the 3rd and 4th quarters. He will be the key for Atlanta. ESPN has this game 50/50! I’m taking Atlanta by 9! Final Score: Hawks 119 – Cavaliers 110!

4/15 – 9:00 p.m. – New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Clippers – TV: ESPN
The Pelicans put on a show at home against the San Antonio Spurs in their first play-in game. They won by 10 and sent the Spurs home packing. The Clippers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road by 5. This game will be for the last and final spot in the Western Conference. Players to watch: Pelican guard CJ McCollum and PF Brandon Ingram. These two guys will be the catalyst for a Pelican victory on the road. Point guard Reggie Jackson and SF Paul George has a chance to make a huge splash in the NBA playoffs. ESPN has the Clippers with a 71% chance of winning at home. I’m taking the Pelicans by 10! Final score: Pelicans 120 – Clippers 110!