NBA Play-In 2023, Eastern Conference Preview

In less than 48 hours, the Heat, Hawks, Raptors, and Bulls will battle it out in a tense Eastern Conference Play-In

Jimmy Butler dopo la sconfitta contro gli Hornets

After 82 games, eight teams will still be fighting for the last 4 spots to access the coveted NBA Playoffs. The first picture to emerge is that of the Eastern Conference, with the Heat, Hawks, Raptors, and Bulls qualifying for the Play-In in that order.

Despite being four big dissatisfied teams of this season, because all of them have disappointed, the Play-In that will come out could be fought like never before (here you can find the preview of the Western Conference Play-In).

Miami Heat Vs Atlanta Hawks

On paper, the Heat are the big favorites, but it’s undeniable that this mini-tournament is not what they initially expected to be fighting for, so there could be a lot of tension in the environment. It will be up to coach Erik Spoelstra to properly manage Jimmy Butler and his teammates, but the playoffs for Miami are and must be a concrete possibility.

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Below that, there is great confusion; the Hawks, despite having a great roster on paper, are literally the quintessential “mid” team: they follow the average on all statistical categories this season, but precisely because of this, in a single game, they can achieve everything and the opposite of everything: in addition to Trae Young‘s usual contribution, which alone may not be enough, we feel that the real balance for these Hawks will be Dejounte Murray. Will the former Spurs player be able to shoulder the weight of the attack when Ice Trae is doubled by Miami’s stringent defense?

Toronto Raptors Vs Chicago Bulls

The Toronto Raptors face their beloved ex-player DeMar DeRozan and his Chicago Bulls in a do-or-die match that we expect to be tense and decidedly unremarkable, between two mediocre offenses and very good defenses.

Considering the historical difficulties that DeMar DeRozan has encountered during the postseason practically since entering the league (presumably because the contested midrange shots he loves to take in the regular season are hardly granted to him in the playoffs, where defense is taken seriously), and that Zach LaVine is a wildcard, we feel that the Toronto Raptors are slightly favored in the head-to-head clash.

The games are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday nights, respectively for Miami-Atlanta and Toronto-Chicago, while the eighth-place playoff between the loser of the first game and the winner of the second game will take place on the night between Friday and Saturday.

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