NBA Finals – The experts’ choice for the play-in tournament and first round

What awaits ahead in the NBA postseason?

The Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers start tonight with the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game in the Eastern Conference play-in, followed by the 7-8 game in the Western Conference between the LA Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves. (Here’s a refresher on how the play-in tournament works.)

Wednesday’s matches feature Atlanta Hawks vs. The Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs in each conference 9-10 matchup.

Which playoff hopes advance to the first round?

While four teams await their opponents, there are four series: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz.

How will Joel Embiid and James Harden fare in the duo’s first series together? What impact will Luka Doncic’s calf load affect the Mavericks’ chances?

Our panel of NBA experts selects each play-in tournament game and first-round series.

MORE: The 75 Things to Know for the NBA Post-Season | Schedules


Kendra Andrews: Nets

Jamal necklace: Nets

Nick DePaula: Nets

Nick Friedell: Nets

Kirk Goldsberry: Nets

Israel Gutierrez: Nets

Tim Legler: Nets

Andrew Lopez: Nets

Tim MacMahon: Nets

Bobby Marks: Nets

Dave McMenamin: Nets

Kevin Pelton: Nets

Omar Raja: Nets

George Sedan: Nets

Ramona Shelburne: Nets

André Snellings: Nets

Marc J. Spears: Nets

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nets

Final statement: Nets 18, Cavaliers 0.

Kendra Andrews: Hawks

Jamal necklace: Hawks

Nick DePaula: Hornets

Nick Friedell: Hawks

Kirk Goldsberry: Hawks

Israel Gutierrez: Hornets

Tim Legler: Hornets

Andrew Lopez: Hawks

Tim MacMahon: Hawks

Bobby Marks: Hornets

Dave McMenamin: Hornets

Kevin Pelton: Hawks

Omar Raja: Hawks

George Sedan: Hawks

Ramona Shelburne: Hawks

André Snellings: Hawks

Marc J. Spears: Hawks

Ohm Youngmisuk: Hawks

Final statement: Hawks 13, Hornets 5.


Kendra Andrews: Mowers

Jamal necklace: Mowers

Nick DePaula: Mowers

Nick Friedell: Timberwolves

Kirk Goldsberry: Timberwolves

Israel Gutierrez: Mowers

Tim Legler: Timberwolves

Andrew Lopez: Mowers

Tim MacMahon: Mowers

Bobby Marks: Mowers

Dave McMenamin: Mowers

Kevin Pelton: Timberwolves

Omar Raja: Mowers

George Sedan: Mowers

Ramona Shelburne: Mowers

André Snellings: Timberwolves

Marc J. Spears: Mowers

Ohm Youngmisuk: Mowers

Final statement: Clippers 13, Timberwolves 5.

Kendra Andrews: Pelicans

Jamal necklace: Pelicans

Nick DePaula: Pelicans

Nick Friedell: Pelicans

Kirk Goldsberry: Spurs

Israel Gutierrez: Pelicans

Tim Legler: Pelicans

Andrew Lopez: Pelicans

Tim MacMahon: Pelicans

Bobby Marks: Pelicans

Dave McMenamin: Spurs

Kevin Pelton: Pelicans

Omar Raja: Pelicans

George Sedan: Pelicans

Ramona Shelburne: Pelicans

André Snellings: Pelicans

Marc J. Spears: Pelicans

Ohm Youngmisuk: Spurs

Final statement: Pelicans 15, Spurs 3.


Kendra Andrews: Pants and 5

Jamal necklace: Trousers and 4

Nick DePaula: Pants and 5

Nick Friedell: Trousers and 4

Kirk Goldsberry: Pants and 5

Israel Gutierrez: Trousers and 4

Tim Legler: Pants and 5

Andrew Lopez: Trousers and 6

Tim MacMahon: Pants and 5

Bobby Marks: Trousers and 6

Dave McMenamin: Trousers and 4

Omar Raja: Pants and 5

George Sedan: Trousers and 4

Ramona Shelburne: Pants and 5

André Snellings: Trousers and 4

Marc J. Spears: Trousers and 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Pants and 5

Final statement: Bucks 17, Bulls 0.

Kendra Andrews: 76ere i 6

Jamal necklace: 76ere i 7

Nick DePaula: 76ere i 6

Nick Friedell: 76ere i 7

Kirk Goldsberry: Raptors and 7

Israel Gutierrez: 76ere i 7

Tim Legler: 76ere i 7

Andrew Lopez: Birds of prey in 6

Tim MacMahon: 76ere i 6

Bobby Marks: Birds of prey in 6

Dave McMenamin: 76ere i 7

Omar Raja: 76ere i 7

George Sedan: Raptors and 7

Ramona Shelburne: 76ere i 7

André Snellings: Raptors and 7

Marc J. Spears: 76ere i 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: 76ere i 7

Final statement: 76ers 12, Raptors 5.


Kendra Andrews: Warriors in 5

Jamal necklace: Warriors in 6

Nick DePaula: Warriors in 6

Nick Friedell: Warriors in 7

Kirk Goldsberry: Warriors in 6

Israel Gutierrez: Warriors in 7

Tim Legler: Warriors in 6

Andrew Lopez: Warriors in 7

Tim MacMahon: Warriors in 6

Bobby Marks: Warriors in 7

Dave McMenamin: Nuggets in 7

Omar Raja: Warriors in 7

George Sedan: Warriors in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Warriors in 5

André Snellings: Warriors in 7

Marc J. Spears: Warriors in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Warriors in 7

Final statement: Warriors 16, Nuggets 1.

Kendra Andrews: Mavericks and 6

Jamal necklace: Mavericks and 6

Nick DePaula: Mavericks and 6

Nick Friedell: Mavericks and 7

Kirk Goldsberry: Jazz and 7

Tim Legler: Mavericks and 7

Andrew Lopez: Mavericks and 6

Israel Gutierrez: Mavericks and 6

Tim MacMahon: Mavericks and 7

Bobby Marks: Jazz and 6

Dave McMenamin: Mavericks and 6

Omar Raja: Jazz and 6

George Sedan: Mavericks and 7

Ramona Shelburne: Mavericks and 7

André Snellings: Mavericks and 6

Marc J. Spears: Jazz and 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Mavericks and 5

Final statement: Mavericks 13, Jazz 4.

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