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Weekly NBA Game Thread: Week of May 3rd, 2021

Play-in tournament? I hardly knew her!

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Every Monday at 5:00 PM Central this all-purpose thread goes up, and the comments section is where it’s going down. This is your place to discuss all the NBA’s action happening during the week when the Bucks are off-duty.

People Who Matter like LeBron James and Mark Cuban are mad at how the NBA play-in tournament has their slack-jawed teams staring directly into the face of the Western Conference’s seventh seed and a slot in the inaugural formalized play-in tournament between seeds 7 through 10.

I was on here complaining a few weeks ago about the play-in tourney, though if memory serves me right (it rarely does), I was complaining that the seeds didn’t go 7 v. 10 and 8 v. 9 in single winner-moves-on games. I’m willing to push that complaint aside because it appears the NBA has momentarily discovered a fold that keeps these final weeks of games interesting for those teams we’d normally care the least about this time of year.

The Lakers currently cling to a three-way tie with the Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers for the West’s fifth seed, while the Grizzlies, Warriors, and Spurs all jockey for position in the upcoming tournament. Normally we’d reach the end of the season, feel a twinge of regret for whatever ninth seed couldn’t sneak in, and get on with our lives watching the eighth seed get demolished by the one seed. This year, that final sequence is likely to still play out, but we get to huddle around and watch the losers duke it out for the privilege of entertaining us and getting trounced in an eventual laugher. Suddenly, we’d maybe get to watch LeBron and Steph Curry go all out to save their respective seasons in a mini-series with very high stakes.

Whether the reality will match up with the dream remains to be seen, but it has all the makings of some compelling basketball; something we’re in sore need of this time of year.