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NBA Playoffs: The Real Season

The 82-game regular season is over. Before the NBA Playoffs begin this weekend, the final playoff spots are being determined this week in play-in games.

Tuesday, April 12

Brooklyn Nets 115, Cleveland Cavaliers 108

Nets secure 7 seed and advance to first round of playoffs against the Boston Celtics

Minnesota Timberwolves 109, LA Clippers 104

Timberwolves secure 7 seed and advance to first round of playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies

 

Wednesday, April 13

Atlanta Hawks 132, Charlotte Hornets 103

New Orleans Pelicans 113, San Antonio Spurs 103

 

Friday, April 15

Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers

New Orleans Pelicans at L.A. Clippers

*Winners earn conference 8 seeds

 

Saturday, April 16

Conference quarterfinals get underway

 

NOTES:

— Golden State Warriors are back.

— Los Angeles Lakers are not.

— Phoenix Suns (64-18) had the best regular season record in the NBA. The Suns and the Miami Heat (53-29) are the top seeds and secured home court throughout the conference playoffs.

— WEST/First round home court advantage: Phoenix, Memphis, Golden State, Dallas

— EAST/First round home court advantage: Miami, Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia

— WEST/First-round major matchups: Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz;  Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets

— EAST/First-round major matchups: Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks; Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

— Best team: Phoenix Suns

— Best defense: Boston Celtics

— MVP: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid won the scoring title.

— Best fight club team: Miami Heat

— Best conference: Eastern Conference. The first 10 teams are separated by just 10 games, the closest finish since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. In the Western Conference, the top 10 teams are separated by 30 games.

— Dangerous teams: EAST/Toronto, Brooklyn; WEST/LA Clippers, Minnesota

— Major injuries: The Clippers’ Paul George played in only 31 games (elbow injury); Kevin Durant (ankle injury) played in only 55 games; and Kyrie Irving played only 29 games because of COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

— Most important player: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

— Most embarrassed: The Lakers and New York Knicks

— Biggest trade: James Harden went from the Nets to the 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, who has yet to play for Brooklyn

— Biggest drought: 16 years in a row the Sacramento Kings have missed the playoffs.

— NBA Finals: In a repeat of 2021, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns.

— Champion: Milwaukee, in a repeat.

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