The official NBA Playoffs will begin this coming Saturday, but the Play-In Tournament was in full effect on Tuesday. And after the night’s action, a couple of the top seeded teams have their matchups set.
Hawks And Lakers Advance In NBA Play-In Games
The Hawks defeat the Heat and set up a first-round series vs. the Celtics 💪 pic.twitter.com/VOM1TG4fa5
— ESPN (@espn) April 12, 2023
The first contest of the night came between the 7th seeded Atlanta Hawks and the 8th seeded Miami Heat.
Miami came into the contest as 5 point favorites, and there were thoughts that the Hawks could be distracted by Trae Young trade rumors. But Atlanta put those notions to rest on Tuesday, at least for one night.
Young was the top scorer for the Hawks in the game, but it took a collective effort in order to advance. Seven of their players finished in double figures in scoring, including all four bench players that saw action.
The lead was 15 at halftime, and the Heat were never able to recover in the second half. They wasted an outstanding offensive performance from Kyle Lowry, who scored 33 points in 33 minutes off of the bench.
The Hawks will advance automatically, and will take on the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Heat will have another shot, as they will take on the winner of Wednesday’s game between the Bulls and Raptors for the rights to the 8th seed and a date with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Lakers And Wolves Play Instant Classic In Los Angeles
not. done. yet. pic.twitter.com/xho6mrgfmv
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 12, 2023
The second game of the night was much more hotly contested. The Los Angeles Lakers entered the game as heavy favorites due to their home court advantage and the turmoil happening within the Minnesota Timberwolves organization. But the Wolves came to play without both Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels, and were leading by 11 points going into half-time.
Minnesota would push their lead up to as many as 15 in the third quarter, but the Lakers finally made their move in the final ten minutes. After shrinking the Wolves lead to 3 on multiple occasions, Los Angeles finally tied the game with less than two minutes remaining. Mistakes and fatigue plagued Minnesota down the stretch, and they didn’t score a single point for the final six minutes of regulation.
Until there was 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 12, 2023
With his team up by 3 points with less than two seconds remaining, Anthony Davis inexplicably fouled Mike Conley on a three-point attempt just before the buzzer. Conley knocked down all three free throws to force overtime.
But if the Timberwolves were fatigued during the 4th quarter, they were simply out of gas during the final period. The Lakers capitalized on the situation, and wound up victorious in a game that left players for both teams grasping for air.
The Lakers will advance to play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Timberwolves will await the winner of Wednesday’s game between the Pelicans and Thunder, whom they’ll play for the right to take on the Denver Nuggets.
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