NBA Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Bracket After Hawks, Pelicans Advance

Doric SamApril 14, 2022

Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) celebrate after a Hawks basket during the second half of the team's NBA play-in basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

After Wednesday's NBA play-in games, two teams were sent home and two teams stayed alive in the quest for the eighth and final seed in their respective conferences.

The Atlanta Hawks opened the night with a blowout 132-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets to end their season. In the nightcap, the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113-103.

Atlanta's win sets up a matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday for the No. 8 seed in the East, while New Orleans will take on the Los Angeles Clippers for the same spot in the West.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Hawks vs Cavaliers<br><br>Pelicans vs Clippers<br><br>8 seeds on the line. Who you got? πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/qkLtre9n5q">pic.twitter.com/qkLtre9n5q</a>

Here's a look at the updated playoff picture.

Eastern Conference

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) TBD

(2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Brooklyn Nets

(3) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (6) Chicago Bulls

(4) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Toronto Raptors

Eastern Play-In Game

No. 9 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference

(1) Phoenix Suns vs. (8) TBD

(2) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (7) Minnesota Timberwolves

(3) Golden State Warriors vs. (6) Denver Nuggets

(4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (5) Utah Jazz

Western Play-In Game

No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans vs. No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers

The Hawks blitzed the Hornets out the gate and never looked back. It was a special offensive performance that saw Atlanta shoot 52.1 percent from the field and 16-of-32 from three-point land.

Six players scored at least 13 points for the Hawks, led by Trae Young's 24 points and 11 assists. De'Andre Hunter added 22 points, Danilo Gallinari chipped in 18 and Clint Capela put up 15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points apiece.

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TRAE NO-LOOK LOB 😱<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a>)<br> <a href="https://t.co/1eufHlO0GO">pic.twitter.com/1eufHlO0GO</a>

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Trae before the half 🎯 <br><br>Hawks up 8 at home <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a>) <a href="https://t.co/sjaswhu8Ju">pic.twitter.com/sjaswhu8Ju</a>

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It’s too easy for Ice Trae πŸ₯Ά<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBAUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBAUK</a>)<a href="https://t.co/RFRDQztSYE">pic.twitter.com/RFRDQztSYE</a>

Atlanta advances to a favorable matchup against Cleveland after winning three out of the four regular-season matchups this year. The Cavaliers had the fifth-best defense in the league this season but couldn't stop the Hawks, as they put up over 120 points in each of their three victories.

The Hawks have the advantage of last year's experience of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Atlanta will have no issue getting past Cleveland if it plays at the level it did against Charlotte.

For the Pelicans, a massive first half by CJ McCollum sparked the team early, and it was able to hold on for the victory over a scrappy Spurs squad. McCollum had 27 of his 32 points in the first two quarters. When he went cold in the second half, Brandon Ingram picked up the slack and finished with 27 points.

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BRANDON INGRAM DROPS THE HAMMER πŸ”¨<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a>)<a href="https://t.co/dNRfDt1HnD">pic.twitter.com/dNRfDt1HnD</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

CJ HEATING UP πŸ”₯<br><br>He's got 27 in the first half<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBATV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBATV</a>)<a href="https://t.co/zOUDRwNgsz">pic.twitter.com/zOUDRwNgsz</a>

Jonas Valanciunas had a strong game with 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado each added 12 points. Jones was particularly effective with his defense on San Antonio's Dejounte Murray, who finished with 16 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

When McCollum is aggressive, he's the engine that makes New Orleans go. His pairing with Ingram has worked wonders for the Pelicans as both of them seem to enjoy playing off one another.

New Orleans was victorious in the first three meetings of the season against Los Angeles, but the Clippers won the most recent matchup between the two teams less than two weeks ago. McCollum and Ingram combined for just 34 points in the loss. The Pelicans will need strong performances from them if they hope to upend the Clippers and steal the No. 8 seed.