2022 NBA Play-In Game Previews

Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks plan on going the distance this season and it all starts with the play-in game.
Photo Courtesy: Erik Drost

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

The NBA second season is starting. The playoffs are essentially here and there are four games that will be played for the final playoff seeding in both the Western and Eastern conferences. This is the true meaning of one and done! Four games will be played in two days to finish off the 2022 NBA season. The play-in scenario starts tonight in Brooklyn with the Nets taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers while the LA Clippers will face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tomorrow’s games will be San Antonio on the road in New Orleans while the Charlotte Hornets take on the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. Let’s take a close look at every game and I’ll give you my prediction and final score.

4/12 – 6:00 p.m. – Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets –  TV: TNT
Cleveland has played some pretty good basketball this season. The Cavaliers finished the season with a record of 44-38. They face a tough task on the road in Brooklyn on Tuesday night. The Nets have two of the top 10 players on their roster in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Both of these guys are NBA and Olympic champions. I’m taking the Nets by 12 in this one. ESPN has the Nets with a 71.4% chance of winning this one at home. Who am I to go against that! Final Score: Cavaliers 110 – Nets 122

4/12 – 8:30 p.m. – LA Clippers vs Minnesota Timberwolves – TV: TNT
The Clippers have had a very bad year. Forwards Kawhi Leonard has been out and Paul George played sparingly this season. The team was hampered all season with injuries and makeshift line up all season long. I can’t name the Clippers starting 5 without looking at the roster. I’m surprised that they even won 42 games this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves are a young, tough and driven team that loves playing defense. They won 46 games this season and have a decent home record to boot! I’m taking Minnesota by 8! Keep your eye on Karl Anthony-Towns throughout this one! Final Score: Clippers 91 – Timberwolves 99

4/13 – 6:00 p.m. – San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Pelicans – TV: ESPN
Several question looms over this game in the “Big Easy”. Can the Spurs pull off a win on the road in this one? Will Coach Popovich walk away after the season? Finally, is New Orleans deep enough to win this one and get into the playoffs? Allow me to answer all three questions for you. The Spurs will lose this one. The San Antonio Spurs are a horrible road team this season. That’s NOT the Spur-way. Head coach Greg Popovich will return next season. As for the Pelicans, they will win this one and get past the first round. Players to watch: Guard C.J. McCollum and SF Brandon Ingram. Final Score: Spurs 100 – Pelicans 121

4/13 – 8:30 p.m. – Charlotte Hornets vs Atlanta Hawks – TV: ESPN
This game will be the tell all game of the NBA play-in games. Both teams are young, scrappy and good. In a way they mirror each other in all five positions on the floor. The winner of this game will be a handful in the next round. Picture this… the winner of this game will only win by 6 points. Atlanta’s point guard Trae Young averages 28.4 points per game, while Charlotte’s small forward Miles Bridges averages 20.2 to lead his team. These two players will be on showcase Wednesday night in Atlanta. ESPN has the Hawks with a 69% chance of winning at home, but I think its closer than that. I’m taking the Hawks by 6! Final Score: Hornets 90 – Hawks 96