April Madness: NBA playoffs kick off after March Madness ends

Lakers star LeBron James runs down the court


Lakers star LeBron James runs down the court

With spring break ending, that means the NBA playoffs are starting up. With recent changes in the format, the teams seeded nine and ten in each conference now have a chance to make the playoffs in what is called the play-in tournament. The teams seeded 7-10 play each other in a tournament to see who will get the seventh and eighth seed in the end.

As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks have secured their playoff spots, with the rest still battling it out for the last spot in each conference.

With so many good teams this year, there are some great matchups already in the first round, making it a very exciting playoff this year and providing lots of competition.

The first intriguing matchup for the first round is in the western conference, with the Phoenix Suns playing the Los Angeles Clippers in the four and five matchups. This will be a very interesting round, as both teams are loaded with superstars and talent with guys like Kevin Durant for the Suns and Kawhi Leonard for the Clippers, however, neither team has been totally healthy this year, with Durant joining the Suns late via a trade and Leonard being injured for a majority of the year. 

The next matchup to keep an eye out for is over in the eastern conference with the Philadelphia 76ers playing the Brooklyn Nets in the three and sixth games. The Nets have been on an unexpected hot streak after trading away their stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the trade deadline. Guys like Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas have stepped up to be big contributors lately, helping the Nets to a six seed. The 76ers on the other hand will be hungry this year after coming up short multiple years in a row and failing expectations. Joel Embiid has put up an MVP-caliber season and doesn’t seem to be slowing down going into the playoffs.

Lastly, another great matchup to watch is back in the western conference with the Lakers playing the Grizzlies in the second and seventh rounds. The Lakers have made a surging comeback since making adjustments at the trade deadline, going from out of the playoffs to back in and a chance for LeBron to get his fifth ring. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies on the other hand have been known for their cockiness all year, with fans around the league growing a disliking them. Although they have played well this year and are in a great position with the 2 seed, off-the-court issues towards the end of the season with Ja Morant have put a black cloud over the team, causing distractions and uncertainty. This will be my favorite round to watch out of the first-round matchups.

The NBA playoffs should be great this year, with the competition gap getting lesser and lesser, opening the window for more upsets to happen.