The completion of the regular season left many expectations about the Play-In round. Here are the details about the first two games of the 2023 NBA postseason.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat
The first game of the night features the No. 7 Miami Heat against the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference. Miami, with a 44-38 record, is shaping up to be the favorite against Atlanta, whose 41-41 record shows a disadvantage.
Miami has two key players as possible absences for this duel. Kyle Lowry and Max Strus will be decisions at game time. On the other hand, Nikola Jovic is out for this match. For its part, Atlanta hasn’t reported any injuries, so it will be at full capacity.
While the Heat enter as clear favorites at -205, the fact of having key absences will test the depth of their bench. Hopefully, Atlanta will capitalize on this opportunity to pull off a surprise.
Considering that the Hawks lost their last two games at the end of the regular season and that Miami won four of five, the Heat will advance to the next round. The good news for Atlanta is that it will have one more chance to get into the next round.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
LeBron James and the LA Lakers face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second game of the Play-In competition. Los Angeles comes into this game as No. 7 in the Western Conference with a 43-39 record. Minnesota, meanwhile, comes in as the eighth-ranked team with a 42-40 record.
The Lakers have an apparent overwhelming lead with odds of -385. However, these odds could be seriously affected given the number of injuries Los Angeles has. First, LeBron and Anthony Davis are on the disabled list, although they could be available for this game. In addition, D’Angelo Russell and Tristan Thompson are also on the injured list.
Minnesota also reports Rudy Gobert and Jayden McDaniels are out. Gobert received a team-instigated one-game suspension for punching a teammate, and McDaniels is out for punching a wall. The injured Jaylen Nowell and Karl-Anthony Towns are also listed as possible for the matchup. The decision will be at game time.
Based on the number of injuries on the part of both teams, this duel will be decided by the remaining depth. Considering the Los Angeles draw, their victory over Minnesota is on the verge, even with James’ absence. However, James will do his best to play given the importance of the match.
For Minnesota, a loss still leaves them with a chance to advance to the next round. Therefore, the Timberwolves must arrive prepared to play with everything.
Predictions for the First Day of Play-In
The Heat will seal their passage to the next round in a close match. Atlanta is coming in on a rough patch, so Miami could take advantage of this situation.
The Lakers will find a brave performance from James and company. They should have no problem defeating the Timberwolves.