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Previewing the Western Conference Play-In Games

Our preview of the Western Conference play-in tournament.

Stephen A. Bayless

Hopefully, we get some better games tonight. Last night, the Pacers donkey kicked the Hornets back to Charlotte. Jayson Tatum dropped a 50 burger on the Wizards to secure the seven-seed. The Celtics take on an old friend in Brooklyn, while the Wizards fight to see another day against the Pacers.

Tonight we got the game everyone has been waiting for. Us east coast fans unfortunately have to wait until 10 pm to see tip-off. The Steph vs. LeBron rivalry adds another chapter. Before the Warriors vs. Lakers game, we also have the Grizzlies vs. Spurs. Obviously doesn't have the juice of the later game, but it's a solid appetizer.


I'll be honest... I haven't watched a ton of Spurs basketball this year. What I do know is their team is a skeleton of what's remaining from that Kawhi trade a few years ago. Demar Derozan has put up solid numbers this year and is probably going to leave once the season ends. Dejuonte Murray is a solid guard that can put up some points. Pop also looks like a man that's ready to go on vacation.

I just think the Grizzlies are a superior team.

Led by their young superstar Ja Morant, the Grizzlies had a solid season. Going 38-34 in the regular season, I feel like they took another step forward, unlike the Pelicans. Of course, Morant is the talk of the team, but they have some really solid players to support him. Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas have played well this season. Jaren Jackson Jr. was hurt most of the season but has returned to the lineup late this season.

I like the Grizzlies (-3) to take on whoever the loser is of the Golden State vs. Los Angeles game.


This is the game everyone has been waiting for.

LeBron vs. Steph, part 1000. Remember for like five straight years when we all knew these two would eventually face each other in the Finals? The stage isn't quite as big as the championship game, but here we are.

Steph has been one of the biggest stories in the NBA this year. When Klay went down in the offseason, a lot of people wrote off the Warriors. Can Steph carry this roster to the playoffs? Well, Steph went on to win the scoring title and is going to get serious consideration for MVP. What he did night in and night out was truly incredible.

On the other side, you got the defending champs. How the hell did the Lakers end up with the seven-seed? Injuries obviously crippled this team. With LeBron and AD back, it seems like seeding won't matter to them. Look at what the Clippers did! They purposely lost their final game to avoid the Lakers. They're as good of a team as any team in the NBA. If LeBron and AD are healthy, I can see them end up in the Finals.

I have the Lakers (-5.5) tonight. LeBron is going to activate zero dark whatever and look like his old self again. Even if Steph drops 50, I don't think the Warriors have enough around him to keep up with the Lakers. Players like Wiggins, Poole, and Green are going to have to give Steph some help if they want a chance. I think we're going to see playoff LeBron and the Lakers run away with this one.

NBASan Antonio SpursMemphis GrizzliesLos Angeles LakersGolden State WarriorsPlayoffsSportsGambling