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NBA Play-In Tournament schedule set with LeBron, Steph, Embiid facing possibility of missing round of 16

Yahoo Sports NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill takes a look at the four Play-In Tournament matchups as the regular season ended on Sunday night, setting up for an exciting round of qualifier games before the round of 16 begins next weekend. With perennially successful franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat all appearing in Play-In games this Tuesday & Wednesday, the level of competition will be great and the stakes never higher for such stars as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler and more. Their prize, the opportunity to face off against juggernaut 2-seeds the Boston Celtics & Denver Nuggets.

Video Transcript

VINCENT GOODWILL: After weeks of the possibilities and permutations and tiebreakers, we're finally here, the playoffs. But first, there's playing business to take care of.

And in short, it's worked. Stars will be in their version of April Madness this week, just to get to the round of 16. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid. We're talking MVPs, Finals MVPs, champions, and torchbearers of the game.

They're going to be on center stage scratching and clawing to get to the round of 16. Philly has gone from a major disappointment. The team that nobody really considered as a playoff threat to the team nobody wants to face, and that includes the behemoth Boston Celtics.

And Miami is always dangerous. And rewarding the Knicks with one of those two teams, that almost seems like a cruel joke to those New Yorkers.

And Chicago and Atlanta, they're just bringing up the rear, to be perfectly honest. But they could be dangerous. The West is where it really gets fun. You have the Lakers and Pelicans once again in New Orleans, just like Sunday afternoon.

Golden State and Sacramento, they're going to renew their rivalry, this time in Sacramento at the 9, 10 line. Either way for a team like the Lakers, it's their boogeyman.

Either they're going to win and play Denver, the team that swept them last year, or they're going to lose and play two teams in Golden State or Sacramento that have dominated them in the regular season.

Either way, think of all the competitive games that we've seen this season in the last six weeks. We haven't heard talk about tanking. We've seen more teams and more permutations and more possibilities than we've seen in years.

That's called competitive balance. And that's even before we get to the real playoffs, where the fun begins.

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