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Eastern Conference Play-In Games

Hornets at Pacers & Wizards at Celtics

Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards
Yes, it’s Russ.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

So, it has come to this.

That’s just a sentence that’s fun to write, and you can write it about nearly anything.

In this case, it has come to the Eastern Conference Play In Games. This is a place to talk about them, argue about the merits of the format, and generally hang out if you’re interested in these games.

I am, as I think this is really the first time we’ve seen them. Yes, I know they existed in The Bubble, but The Bubble was so odd, that in some ways they just melted into the oddness.

Having a mechanism that makes teams that would otherwise consider themselves out of the playoff picture try to win is nothing but good news for the NBA and its fans. It’s made the end of the season a lot less depressing as many more teams tried hard to win.

Tonight we get a matchup between the Unhappy Brawlin’ Injured Pacers and the Surprisingly Interesting Injured Hornets.

In some ways this game is defined by who isn’t there. For Charlotte, Gordon Hayward is injured, again. For Indiana the Clearly Better Than Victor Oladipo Caris Levert is out for COVID protocols, which seems like a bad reason to miss the playoffs, unless it was circumstances beyond his control that placed him the protocol in the first place. I wish both well, but missing games through various misfortunes is also sort of what they’re historically best at anyway.

But we’ll get to see the interesting Hornets and the somewhat less interesting Pacers duel for the playoffs.

I think we’ll see Ball Ballin’ for a Hornets win.

In tonight’s marquee game, we have The Washington Wizards and Russell Westbrook against the Boston Celtics and their hilarious collapse of a season.

The Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown, which is a heavy blow to their chances, but Kemba Walker is back, and playing well, and not hurt, so they have a chance, with him and Jason Tatum.

Washington has been powered by (yet another) Wussell Westbrook Wennaisance. He’s playing like he did before he hurt his quad for the Rockets, and a player doing all the stuff he’s doing is a useful player, even if he’s not efficient. Bradley Beal is not listed on Washington’s injury report, but he’s battling hamstring issues.

This game may well come down to something odd. Centers. Washington has a ton of them, and plays them, though Scott Brooks, as usual, has difficulty identifying his most effective players.

Robin Lopez is partying like it’s 1959 at the center spot, with a selection of low hooks, and fancy footwork. Boston has one center, in the somewhat injured Robert Williams 3, and one plus, in the amusing Tacko Fall.

I think Boston has a lot of quit in them, and Russ runs the ball down their throats.

Let’s see what happens!



This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Indy, Boston.
    (17 votes)
  • 24%
    Indy, Washington.
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Charlotte, Boston.
    (0 votes)
  • 18%
    Charlotte, Washington.
    (10 votes)
  • 25%
    The real winners are the friends we made along the way.
    (14 votes)
54 votes total Vote Now