Experts' picks for the final playoff spots and six first-round matchups

The NBA play-in tournament concludes Friday as two teams from each conference battle for the No. 8 seeds and final spots in the playoffs.

In the West, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers took care of business Tuesday night, knocking down Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans to take the No. 7 seed and a chance to avenge last year’s playoff sweep against the Denver Nuggets. The Pelicans will now have to take on the Sacramento Kings without Williamson, who is out because of an injured left hamstring.

In the East, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat to clinch the No. 7 seed and will take on the New York Knicks in the first round. The Heat host the Chicago Bulls in Friday’s clash but will be without Jimmy Butler after he suffered an MCL sprain in the loss in Philadelphia.

Before any of these scenarios unravel, our NBA experts are making their picks for the last set of play-in games and first-round matchups.

Note: Picks for each conference’s 1-8 matchup will be added after the play-in.

MORE: 20-team preview | Playoff news, schedules and results


Play-in tournament

sacteam vsno

Kendra Andrews: Pelicans

Jerry Bembry: Kings

Chris Herring: Kings

Tim Legler: Kings

Tim MacMahon: Kings

Bobby Marks: Kings

Dave McMenamin: Kings

Jorge Sedano: Pelicans

Ramona Shelburne: Kings

André Snellings: Kings

Marc J. Spears: Kings

Ohm Youngmisuk: Kings

Final tally: Kings 10, Pelicans 2


chiteam vsmia

Kendra Andrews: Bulls

Jerry Bembry: Bulls

Chris Herring: Bulls

Tim Legler: Bulls

Tim MacMahon: Heat

Bobby Marks: Bulls

Dave McMenamin: Bulls

Ramona Shelburne: Heat

André Snellings: Bulls

Marc J. Spears: Bulls

Ohm Youngmisuk: Heat

Final tally: Bulls 8, Heat 3


Western Conference first round

lalteam vsden

Kendra Andrews: Nuggets in 5

Jerry Bembry: Nuggets in 6

Chris Herring: Nuggets in 5

Tim Legler: Nuggets in 6

Tim MacMahon: Nuggets in 4

Bobby Marks: Nuggets in 6

Dave McMenamin: Nuggets in 6

Jorge Sedano: Nuggets in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Nuggets in 6

André Snellings: Nuggets in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Nuggets in 6

Final tally: Nuggets 11, Lakers 0


team vsmin

Kendra Andrews: Timberwolves in 6

Jerry Bembry: Timberwolves in 5

Chris Herring: Timberwolves in 7

Tim Legler: Timberwolves in 7

Tim MacMahon: Suns in 6

Bobby Marks: Suns in 6

Dave McMenamin: Suns in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Timberwolves in 7

André Snellings: Timberwolves in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Suns in 7

Final tally: Timberwolves 6, Suns 4


dalteam vslac

Kendra Andrews: Clippers in 6

Jerry Bembry: Mavericks in 6

Chris Herring: Mavericks in 6

Tim Legler: Mavericks in 6

Tim MacMahon: Mavericks in 6

Bobby Marks: Mavericks in 6

Dave McMenamin: Clippers in 7

Jorge Sedano: Clippers in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Clippers in 7

André Snellings: Mavericks in 6

Final tally: Mavericks 6, Clippers 4


Eastern Conference first round

phiteam vsny

Kendra Andrews: Knicks in 7

Jerry Bembry: Knicks in 6

Chris Herring: Knicks in 6

Tim Legler: Knicks in 7

Tim MacMahon: Knicks in 7

Bobby Marks: Knicks in 5

Dave McMenamin: Knicks in 7

Jorge Sedano: Knicks in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Knicks in 6

André Snellings: 76ers in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Knicks in 7

Final tally: Knicks 10, 76ers 1


indteam vsmil

Kendra Andrews: Bucks in 7

Jerry Bembry: Pacers in 7

Chris Herring: Pacers in 5

Tim Legler: Pacers in 6

Tim MacMahon: Pacers in 6

Bobby Marks: Pacers in 6

Dave McMenamin: Bucks in 7

Jorge Sedano: Bucks in 7

Ramona Shelburne: Bucks in 7

André Snellings: Bucks in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Pacers in 7

Final tally: Pacers 6, Bucks 5


orlteam vscle

Kendra Andrews: Magic in 6

Jerry Bembry: Cavaliers in 6

Chris Herring: Magic in 6

Tim Legler: Cavaliers in 7

Tim MacMahon: Magic in 6

Bobby Marks: Cavaliers in 7

Dave McMenamin: Cavaliers in 6

Jorge Sedano: Cavaliers in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Cavaliers in 7

André Snellings: Cavaliers in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Magic in 6

Final tally: Cavaliers 7, Magic 4

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