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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

COLUMN: Predictions for the NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals

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East quarterfinal: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks — 7:30 pm Tuesday on TNT

Although Bucks dynamic duo of guard Damian Lillard and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo combined for 52 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists during the last matchup. However Knicks stars featuring guard Jalen Brunson and forward Julius Randle are looking more like they did during last season's playoff run. Since the 21-point comeback against the Miami Heat during the divisional IIn-Season tournament game, the Knicks have been on a hot streak and will continue into the tournament.  

East quarterfinal: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers — 7:30 pm Monday on TNT 

The Celtics have the better overall record this season, but the Pacers went perfect during group play at 4-0. Forward Kristaps Porziņġis is sidelined with a calf injury, a big hit for the Celtics when they go against the best offense in the NBA this season. Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton will need to play a big game and take advantage of the home crowd, but I predict the Pacers will come away with a win here. 

West quarterfinal: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers — 10 p.m. Tuesday on TNT 

In a game that will pit Lakers veteran forward LeBron James vs. Suns veteran forward Kevin Durant, this matchup has been hyped up as the game to watch of the Knockout Round. Last time the two teams played against one another was in group play, where James and Durant combined for 70 points overall. The Suns still wont have recent pickup guard Bradley Beal because of a lower back strain, but Durant and guard Devin Booker will shine as they normally do on road games, a feature that will be on full display when they take down the Lakers.  

West quarterfinal: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings — 10 p.m. Monday on TNT

The Kings are the hottest team in the league right now and their top priority in this matchup is stopping sensation forward Zion Williamson on the Pelicans. But Kings center Domantas Sabonis can usually win in this sort of physical battle, but facing both Williamson and Jonas Valačiūnas from the Pelicans will be tough. Guard De’Aron Fox is making his statement this season as the face of the Kings, showing himself to be one of the best guards in the NBA. This deadly combination will break down the Pelicans defense in this matchup.  

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