Eastern Conference Play-in
No. 8 Atlanta Hawks at No. 7 Miami Heat (winner plays No. 2 Boston Celtics in first round)
No. 10 Chicago Bulls at No. 9 Toronto Raptors (winner visits Hawks/Heat loser to play for the No. 8 seed)
The early slate of games belonged to the Eastern Conference, where teams decided to enjoy a relaxing Sunday. Four of the top six seeds in the East suffered losses as most of the top players took the day off.
Still, the New York Knicks falling 141-136 to the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers losing 106-95 to the Charlotte Hornets stood out as particularly ugly heading into the postseason.
The excitement picked up as the matchups in the West got underway. The defending-champion Golden State Warriors made a statement by scoring an NBA-record 55 points in the first quarter on their way to a 157-101 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers’ win over the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors are locked into the sixth seed and will face the Sacramento Kings in the first round. The Suns and Clippers will meet again for a seven-game series in the No. 4-No. 5 matchup.
The Los Angeles Lakers faced a test from a Utah Jazz team that was without most of its regular rotation, but LeBron James put on a show at Crypto.com Arena with 36 points to spearhead a 128-117 victory. Still, Los Angeles is locked into the play-in tournament at the No. 7 seed.