NBA Playoffs Kick Off


Photo Courtesy of SB Nation

By Ethan Russ, Staff Writer

After the NBA season came to a close on Sunday, April 9, the standings were finalized and the playoff and play-in fields were set.

The play-in games began on Tuesday, April 11 with games between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat and between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers and Hawks both came out victorious clinching the seven-seed in their conference tournaments. The losers, Miami and Minnesota found out their opponents on Wednesday night after the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder won to advance in the play-in tournament with a chance to claim the eight-seed in their conference tournaments. The game between the Bulls and the Heat will take place on Friday, April 14 at seven PM, while the Thunder and Timberwolves will face off right after, at 9:30 PM. The last two spots in the playoffs will be determined once both games have concluded, and it is very intriguing to see who will come out on top.

Sophomore Alex Patten said, “I think the play-in games have been great so far. It’s a great way to start the playoffs. I think the addition of the play-in games has been great. It makes everything more interesting and I think it makes it fairer. It gives the lower seeds a chance as well.”

Although the last two spots in the 16-team playoff have yet to be determined, there are still several matchups that are shaping up to be thrilling series’. One series that some analysts have their eye on is the Kings vs Warriors series in the western conference. The Kings are snapping the longest-active NBA playoff drought (16 years), while the Warriors are looking to repeat as champions and win their fifth title since 2015.

Freshman Justin Graves spoke about the series, saying, “It does [look like a good series]. The Kings have been playing very well this season, like De’Aaron Fox and Sabonis, they’ve been playing really well. But the Warriors are always good in the playoffs, you can never count Curry out.”

Another series that stands out is the series between the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are making just their seventh playoff appearance since the turn of the century, while the Cavaliers are looking to get back to where they once were after a four-year playoff drought. They had previously made four consecutive NBA Finals, winning one of the four before their drought began. Given the large number of Knicks fans in the area, Wayne Hills students were able to comment on the Knicks’ chances in the playoffs.

Sophomore Jake Minardi said, “The Knicks have been playing really well recently, so I think that they can maybe make it to the second round or even the conference finals.”

Alex Patten thinks that New York can go even further saying, “It’s looking shaky, the Cavs are a great team, but the Knicks are the Knicks. The Knicks are good, so I think the Knicks got it and I think the Knicks are going to win the finals.”

All three provided multiple favorites. Patten, Minardi, and Graves all picked the Bucks to win the finals, while Patten and Minardi both picked the Warriors, and Graves and Minardi both picked the Nuggets and Celtics. Patten’s last favorite was the Phoenix Suns.

No matter which team people support, it is sure to be a very entertaining playoff until the end and it will be interesting to see who wins the finals.