NBA Play-In Preview: Eastern Conference

Brooklyn vs. Cleveland

The first game on Tuesday should be an interesting one as the offensive powerhouse Nets will be playing a top 5 defense in the Cavaliers. Momentum has not been on the Cavs side lately as they have lost 8 of their last 11 games, which includes games against sub-.500 teams such as the Magic and Lakers. The loss of Jarrett Allen had a huge impact on the Cavs defense which was their bread and butter all season. A lot is riding on rookie Evan Mobley to solidify the Cavs interior defense against Irving and the Nets. I expect the Nets to win here as the Cavs have not recovered from the Allen injury.

Atlanta vs. Charlotte

Expect this game to be a high scoring one, as both Atlanta and Charlotte are high on the offensive rating but extremely low on the defensive one. The key matchup here is Trae Young vs. LaMelo Ball, two dynamic point guards with the confidence and freedom to dictate the flow of the game. I don’t think with either team will ultimately impact the playoffs as their poor defense will probably make them early first round exits, but this may be the most exciting play in game to watch as no defense will be played. Given Trae’s recent strong offensive performance, I expect Atlanta to win.

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