NBA Playoffs: Play-In Tournament Game Previews & Picks
Ricky Gray | April 12, 2022
The first set of tournament games in the NBA kicks off with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Brooklyn Nets
Tonight, the NBA playoffs begin with two teams fighting for a spot in what is now known as the "play-in" tournament. The first game of the night is in the Eastern Conference, with the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Brooklyn Nets.
Both of these teams ended with the same 44-38 record when the season came to a close. However, due to other qualities, the Brooklyn Nets are the home team in tonight's game. The Nets are also favored by 9.5-points tonight.
There are two significant injuries to note, one is to the Nets' Seth Curry, who is on the "day-to-day" list with an ankle injury. The other is Jarrett Allen, the starting center for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who has been ruled out for this matchup.
A key position matchup to watch is Kevin Durant versus Evan Mobley. Durant is the leading scorer for the Nets, averaging 29.9 points per game. Mobley is the leading rebounder for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.3 per game.
Our pick for this game is: Brooklyn Nets -9.5, UNDER
The other game of the night is the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves finished with a better record and as a higher seed in the Western Conference, so they get home-court advantage.
Leading the charge for the Timberwolves is Karl-Anthony Towns, the team's leading scorer (24.6). Towns will find himself against a strong defense in tonight's game, one that ranks 11th overall in the NBA.
The Clippers don't just have a good defense, they have an offense to match. Now that Paul George has returned, the Clippers have a revitalized offense that scored 153 points against the Milwaukee Bucks.
It's important to note that the Clippers should have Nicolas Batum back in the lineup as well. The Timberwolves should also have D'Angelo Russell back on the court as well. The Timberwolves come in as three-point favorites.
Our pick for this game is: Los Angeles Clippers +3, OVER