NBA fans worldwide have been waiting for the postseason to enjoy hours of action-packed entertainment that comes with the play-in tournament. Readers developing a newfound interest in the NBA should remember that the playoffs always come when the regular season ends.
Also, note that the NBA playoffs are very competitive. The teams that fancy participating in the playoffs have to meet many factors, which is why very few teams make the cut. Phoenix Suns fans will be happy to learn that the Phoenix was the first team to qualify for the 2022 NBA playoffs. Meanwhile, Memphis Grizzlies fans have something to smile about since Ja Morant is heading into the play-in tournament as one of the most improved NBA players.
Biggest surprises from the first round
An intense week featuring action-packed duels in the NBA playoffs is over. Now, two teams will be facing elimination as the round of non-competitive 1st round action comes to an end.
Most people believed the Toronto Raptors would be one of the first teams to go home. The Raptors (No.5) were 3-0 down against the Philadelphia 76ers (No.4), and they have been playing without one of their star rookies–Scottie Barnes, who is out with an injury. Game four was a game-changer in the Raptors vs. 76ers, with the former winning the tie, which boosted their confidence to clinch game five.
Besides the Raptors, the Denver Nuggets were also 3-0 down by the end of week one’s action in their fixture against the Golden State Warriors. Therefore, it is no surprise that they might be going home at the end of the first-round action. The Denver Nuggets (No.7) has been participating in the play-in tournament without crucial players like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. The Nuggets beat Toronto Raptors (No.3) in game four to claim their first win in the tournament. GSW is heading into game five with a 3-1 lead.
The Brooklyn Nets are without a win in their first four games in the tournament against Boston Celtics. Also, note that the Nets are out of the tournament at the time of writing this. The Atlanta Hawks is another team that might be heading home at the end of the first round of action. The Hawks are trailing 4-1 in the Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat schedule.
Who will make it to the finals?
As already highlighted, the first round of action in the NBA play-in tournament is over. The week-old games are packed with intrigue, especially after the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets in their fourth game to become the first team to qualify for the second round. Meanwhile, the defending champions–Milwaukee Bucks–are hoping to win their Game 5 duel against Chicago Bulls as this will secure their place in the second round of the tournament.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid battled through game six with a thumb injury, and this might be why he couldn’t lead his team to victory against the Toronto Raptors in an action-packed game on Monday night. Consequently, the Eastern Conference series will be heading back to Toronto this Thursday, where the Raptors will be playing their hearts out as this will push the series to Game 7.
Jimmy Butler–Embiid’s former colleague–and the Miami Heat will have the chance to edge out the Atlanta Hawks from the competition on Tuesday night. Most, if not all, Miami Heat fans are crossing their fingers, hoping their team prevails against the Hawks as this will earn them a spot in the tournament’s second round.
The competition in the Western Conference is keeping everyone guessing, as was expected by both fans and sportsbooks alike. The Phoenix Suns will be hosting the New Orleans Pelicans for Game 5. Fans should expect a tight, intense, and action-packed duel when the two meet since they are currently tied at 2-2. On the other hand, Ja Morant–the most improved player–will be heading home with the Memphis Grizzlies to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night’s Game 5.
Biggest Questions on the road to NBA playoff finals
Here are some of the most asked questions about the play-in tournament:
Are Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors back?
The Eastern Conference’s favorites are the GSW. Curry’s side will be heading into game 5 with a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets. GSW fans hope that their star player–Curry–will be fit and at his best, as this will help them triumph over the Nuggets in Game 5.
Should we expect teams to come back from a 3-0 deficit?
The short answer is no. Nevertheless, this is the NBA, so we can’t rule out any possibilities until the timer runs out. In the past, some three teams have rallied to a 3-3 series tie and lost Game 7.
Can teams come back from a 3-1 deficit?
Yes, 13 teams have come from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs and went on to win game 7.