|By Marc Lawrence — The second edition of the NBA’s play-in tournament starts Tuesday and the final participants have narrowed. The teams that finish between seventh and 10th in the standings from each conference will qualify for the tourney to determine who will earn the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the playoffs.|
Last season, the league kicked off the bubble portion of the season with seeding games to help finalize the postseason participants. This season will be the first time the play-in tournament will use the full season’s standings, meaning this weekend will prove mighty huge for teams sitting on the “Play-In” bubble. Particularly for these teams, according to ESPN:
PORTLAND: The Blazers are surging at the right time, winning 8 of its last 10 games behind team leader Damian Lillard. They battled through injury issues through much of the season, which put them in this position. They got by because of Lillard has scored 30-plus points in his past seven games…
LA LAKERS: The doomsday scenario for the Lakers goes something like this. LeBron James comes back this weekend after having played only two games in the past two months and looks out of rhythm. Dennis Schroder comes back and is still dealing with lingering symptoms. Anthony Davis for the tightness in his groin by reaggravating his right leg injuries that kept him out nine weeks. The Lakers then fall to the play-in tournament, where they fall prey to Stephen Curry‘s brilliance. Ugh.