Which teams will advance to the NBA playoffs?
The GIST: Tonight marks the finale of the thrilling NBA play-in tournament, with two do-or-die showdowns on deck. But the hoopin’ is just getting started — the playoffs begin in earnest tomorrow as the first round series tip off. So much ball, so little time.
Tonight’s play-in games: Both the Eastern Conference (EC) No. 10 Chicago Bulls and Western Conference (WC) No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder channeled their inner Drake, eliminating the No. 9 Toronto Raptors and No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans, respectively, to earn their spot in tonight’s must-win matchups.
- First up is the EC, where Jimmy Butler and the No. 7 Miami Heat will be hell-bent on revenge when they host the defensive powerhouse Bulls at 7 p.m. ET.
- Then out West, the No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves, joined by the newly reinstated Rudy Gobert, take on All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder at 9:30 p.m. ET. Play nice, boys.
Weekend playoff preview: Whether this is your first season of The Real Housewives of the NBA Playoffs or your 50th, here’s a quick refresher on the playoff format: From here on out, each round consists of a seven-game series. In the first round, the No. 1 seed in each conference plays the No. 8 seed (which will be grabbed tonight), No. 2 faces No. 7, and so on.
- Two must-watch series? In the WC, it’s the No. 3 Sacramento Kings, who’ll make their first playoff appearance in 17 years when they host the defending champ No. 6 Golden State Warriors tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET.
- Then on Sunday, superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (pronounced ah-det-oh-KOON-boh) and his EC No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks take on the winner of tonight’s Heat/Bulls game. No rest for the weary.