National Basketball Association

Predicting the winners in each game of the NBA Play-In Tournament

May 18

The NBA postseason begins this week, starting with the Play-In Tournament being held Tuesday through Friday.

The NBA's board of governors approved the event on a one-year basis prior to the 2020-21 season. It involves four teams in each conference facing off in win-or-go-home contests.

This is how it works in each conference:

- No. 7 plays No. 8.
- No. 9 plays No. 10.

- The 7/8 winner is the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.
– The 7/8 loser plays the 9/10 winner for the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

Chris Broussard is back to give his take on everything you need to know about the Play-In Tournament matchups. 

1. Let's start with the West. The 7-seed Los Angeles Lakers vs. the 8-seed Golden State Warriors: Who will win and why?

Broussard: I have the Lakers winning this play-in game. Why? Because they are the flat-out better team. Sure, the Warriors are a threat because Steph Curry can get hot, and then all bets are off – not to mention there’s always the possibility of LeBron James or Anthony Davis reinjuring themselves. But assuming all players (on both squads) are healthy, I’ll take LeBron and AD over Steph and Draymond Green any day.

2. How about the 9-seed Memphis Grizzlies vs. the 10-seed San Antonio Spurs? Who will win and why?

Broussard: The Spurs have lost 10 of their past 12. Granted, almost all of those losses were against the top teams in the league, but still, that can have an impact on your mentality. Memphis, meanwhile, has had a strong season (relatively speaking) and, I’m sure, is eager to continue playing. Plus, the Grizzlies have the best player on the floor in Ja Morant. I’m going with Memphis.

3. Based on your picks in the first round of the play-in, whom do you have landing at No. 7, and whom do you have landing at No. 8 in the West?

Broussard: I’ve got the Lakers at 7 and the Warriors at 8 by virtue of their beating the Grizzlies again.

4. Let's move out East. The 7-seed Boston Celtics vs. the 8-seed Washington Wizards: Who will win and why?

Broussard: These are two teams headed in opposite directions. Boston has lost five of its past six and 10 of its past 15. Plus, star swingman Jaylen Brown is out because of injury. Meanwhile, Washington is one of the hottest teams in the league, and Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are at the top of their games, leading the Wizards to a 17-6 finish. Give me the Wizards.

5. What about the 9-seed Indiana Pacers vs. the 10-seed Charlotte Hornets? Who will win and why?

Broussard: We all know about the turmoil in Indiana. The Pacers have had a down year all-around. But Charlotte is excited about its hot, young rookie, LaMelo Ball, and has generally played well even without him. I think the Hornets win this game.

6. Based on your picks in the first round of the play-in, whom do you have landing at No. 7, and whom do you have landing at No. 8 in the East?

Broussard: I’ve got the Wizards finishing seventh and the Celtics beating the Hornets to finish eighth.

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