NBA Play-In Tournament Predictions: Red-hot Lakers, Sixers punch their tickets

With the start of the NBA Play-In Tournament on the horizon, we predict the four teams that will qualify for the official playoff field.
Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers
Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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(7) New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8)

In seeding that got decided on the final game of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers will face off in one of the Western Conference Play-In Tournament games. The Lakers, who have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since February 1, will take on a Pelicans team that is hoping to take the next step in their progression as a team. For what it's worth, the Lakers went 3-1 against the Pelicans this season, besting them in the final game of the regular season by 10-plus points. However, none of that may end up mattering in this single-game elimination.

Because of how they've been playing of late, I'd have to lean with the Lakers winning this game. Short of Los Angeles trying to play the bold game of picking their first-round opponent, the Lakers should win this game. With the winner of this game taking on the Denver Nuggets in the first round, it'll be interesting to see if that plays any factor in how both of these teams approach this game at all.

I likely shouldn't but we've seen stranger things take place in the NBA.

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers