Entering Sunday’s final day of the regular season, there was no drama to be had in the Eastern Conference, with playoff and play-in matchups all set in stone already, and that was reflected in the 1 p.m. ET window, when teams rested just about everyone and just tried to get across the finish line of the regular season.
However, in the West there was plenty of seeding drama to unfold from 5-9, and the 3:30 p.m. ET window delivered on some late drama. The first outcome to go final was the Warriors blasting the Blazers to ensure their place in the top-6 and a guaranteed playoff berth. Then, the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz to secure the 7-seed as the Clippers beat the Suns to secure the 5-seed and set up a blockbuster playoff series with that very same Phoenix team.
The real drama was reserved for the Pelicans-Timberwolves game in Minnesota, where the Wolves overcame a double-digit deficit, Rudy Gobert getting sent home for punching a teammate, and Jaden McDaniels hurting his hand punching a wall to beat the Pelicans thanks to heroics from Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, jumping New Orleans in the standings to the 8-seed and forcing the Pelicans to once again win two play-in games to reach the postseason.
WHAT A SEQUENCE BY ANT EDWARDS 😱
TIMBERWOLVES LEAD BY 5 WITH 0:53 TO GO
📺: Live on the NBA App pic.twitter.com/8DVd1GUyNU
— NBA (@NBA) April 9, 2023
With that complete, we now have the complete playoff and play-in picture, with the play-in tournament starting on Tuesday, April 11 with the 7/8 games, followed by the 9/10 games on Wednesday, April 12, and the loser of the first game hosting the winner of the second game on Friday, April 14.
8. Atlanta Hawks at 7. Miami Heat
8. Minnesota Timberwolves at 7. Los Angeles Lakers
10. Chicago Bulls at 9. Toronto Raptors
10. Oklahoma City Thunder at 9. New Orleans Pelicans
The TV schedule for the Play-In is also now set:
The 2023 AT&T NBA Play-In Tournament schedule ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/M9izpVhaFP
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 9, 2023
1. Milwaukee Bucks vs. 8. TBD
2. Boston Celtics vs. 7. Winner of Hawks-Heat
3. Philadelphia 76ers vs. 6. Brooklyn Nets
4. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 5. New York Knicks
1. Denver Nuggets vs. 8. TBD
2. Memphis Grizzlies vs. 7. Winner of Timberwolves-Lakers
3. Sacramento Kings vs. 6. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns vs. 5. Los Angeles Clippers
The league also announced the first portion of the TV schedule for Game 1s, with Nets-Sixers, Hawks/Heat-Celtics, Knicks-Cavs, and Warriors-Kings all playing Saturday on ESPN and ABC.