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The NBA’s new play-in tournament kicks off Tuesday night and it took until the 146th and final day of this condensed season to see who is going where for the playoffs.
The Eastern Conference matchups have been set: In Boston No. 7, Washington No. 8 and Indiana No. 9 Charlotte will host Charlotte No. 10 in the NBA’s first elimination game this season. Both games are Tuesday.
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The Boston-Washington winner goes straight to the playoffs as number 7 in the East. The loser of that game will host the Indiana Charlotte winner on Thursday to determine the number 8 in the East, who will face Philadelphia with the best seeds in Round 1.
The Western Conference play-in games will be determined later Sunday based on the results. Golden State, Memphis and San Antonio will all be in the play-in round there. Either the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers or the Portland Trail Blazers will be number 7 for these games. The West Play-In competitions begin on Wednesday.
Reaching eighth place is a massive comeback story for the Wizards, who started the 0-5 and 3-12 seasons, closed for two weeks in January due to coronavirus issues, and played 38 games in the last 67 Days to make up for all the lost time were between 17 and 32 early last month.
Since then they are 17: 6, beat Charlotte by 16 points on Sunday and Russell Westbrook – three-time double king of the league – scored his 38th goal of the season.
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Meanwhile, New York, which has been sent home for the past seven years after the regular season, is not only back in the playoffs, but will open them at home as well. New York’s win over Boston brought the Knicks to No. 4 in the East and a first-round matchup against No. 5 Atlanta.
That means the reigning East Master Miami will open as number 6. The Heat will open the playoffs in Brooklyn or Milwaukee.