2023 NBA Playoffs: First Round Matchups Previews & Play-In Predictions

2023 NBA Playoffs: First Round Matchups Previews & Play-In Predictions

The NBA playoffs are almost here, and the excitement is building as teams gear up for the first round matchups and the highly anticipated play-in tournament. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from this year’s NBA postseason action.

(4) Suns vs. (5) Clippers Round 1 Preview

Lets start in the West with the 5th Seed Clips and the 4th Seeded Suns, one of the most highly anticipated matchups in the first round. This 4 & 5 matchup between these two Pacific division rivals is picture-perfect and I expect this series to go six or seven games. The two teams have faced each other four times this season and are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head record, setting the stage for an exciting and unpredictable series.

The Suns come into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed with a 45-37 record, while the Clippers are the No. 5 seed with a slightly lower record of 44-38. The Suns made a big splash at the trade deadline by acquiring Kevin Durant, instantly elevating their championship hopes. Book leads the Suns in scoring, while the impact Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have this postseason will ultimately determine how far the Suns get.

The Clippers, on the other hand, are looking to get a taste of some championship success after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George via free agency in 2019. However, the real question mark for the Clippers is the status of Paul George, who has been out with an injury. The Clippers will need George healthy and playing at his best to take down the Suns, who many consider to be the best team in the Western Conference despite their seedings.

The odds for the series heavily favor the Suns, with sportsbooks giving them a (-600) chance of winning compared to the Clippers’ (+400). The Suns have been in championship mode ever since losing in the West semifinals last season, and with the addition of Durant, they look like a team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Suns and Clippers are set to face off in what promises to be a thrilling series, with both teams looking to solidify themselves as legitimate championship contenders. The series could ultimately come down to the health of Paul George, making his status a key factor to watch throughout the series.

(3) Kings vs. (6) Warriors Round 1 Preview

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors will meet in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs as the 3-6 pairing in the Western Conference. The matchup between these two teams promises to be an intriguing one, with plenty of history between the organizations and two vastly different teams going head-to-head.

The Kings, led by former Warriors assistant Mike Brown, have finally made it to the playoffs after a 16-year drought. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been the stars for the Kings, but it’s the contributions of role players like Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and Keegan Murray that have helped the team succeed this season. Sacramento’s owner, Vivek Ranadive, was once a minority shareholder in the Warriors and would undoubtedly love to knock off his former team in this series.

On the other hand, the Warriors come into this matchup as the defending champions, but they have not been as dominant as they were last year. However, they have started to regain their championship form in recent weeks. While their road record leaves something to be desired, they are nearly unbeatable at home. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green leading the way, the Warriors have never lost a playoff series when their core group has played every game.

The Kings and Warriors have faced each other 470 times in their history, with the Warriors holding a 249-221 edge. However, the Kings have won four of the last five regular-season matchups between the two teams. In this series, the key matchup will be between the Kings’ backcourt of Fox and Huerter against the Warriors’ guard duo of Curry and Thompson. Additionally, the battle in the paint between Sabonis and the Warriors’ big men will also be a crucial factor in the series.

Overall, this matchup has plenty of intriguing storylines and potential for an upset by the Kings. However, the Warriors are still the favorites in this series due to their championship pedigree and experience in the playoffs. With that being said, DO NOT SLEEP ON THE KINGS.

West Play-In Preview & Prediction: (7) Lakers vs (8) Wolves

On Tuesday, the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers and the No. 8 seed Minnesota Timberwolves will face off in a highly anticipated NBA play-in tournament. This matchup will determine which team will advance to the Western Conference playoffs and which team’s season will come to a close.

The Lakers’ season has been a rollercoaster ride, with injuries and internal turmoil causing some bumps along the way. Despite this, LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain formidable forces on the court, leading the team in points and rebounds. Head coach Darvin Ham has had to navigate these challenges and adjust to a new role after taking over for Frank Vogel this season.

The Timberwolves, on the other hand, have fought hard to secure their spot in the playoffs, winning their last three games of the season. However, they will be facing the Lakers without the talented Jaden McDaniels, who fractured his hand from punching a wall. Additionally, Rudy Gobert’s outburst in the Timberwolves’ regular-season finale may have left the team feeling uneasy heading into the play-in tournament.

While the Lakers have a 2-1 edge in head-to-head matchups with the Timberwolves this season, this play-in game is anyone’s to win. Lakers fans will be looking to James and Davis to lead the team to victory, while Timberwolves fans will be hoping that Anthony Edwards can continue his impressive scoring streak.

The opening odds favor the Lakers with a -6.5 spread and a moneyline of -255. The over/under is set at 227.5, indicating that it could be a high-scoring game.

Overall, this matchup promises to be a thrilling and intense game that could go down to the wire. The Lakers will be looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing end to last year’s playoffs, while the Timberwolves will be eager to make their mark in the postseason.

Firstly, they have a more experienced and well-established roster, led by superstar players LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Despite facing injuries and setbacks throughout the season, the Lakers have shown resilience and have managed to make it to the play-in tournament.

Furthermore, the Lakers have a better record than the Timberwolves and have a head-to-head record of 2-1 against them this season. They also have a more effective offense, averaging 112.4 points per game compared to the Timberwolves’ 109.4.

Defensively, the Lakers have also been solid, ranking in the top 10 in the league in points allowed per game. They will be looking to shut down the Timberwolves’ young star Anthony Edwards, who has been averaging 23.8 points per game this season.

Overall, the Lakers have the experience, talent, and the motivation to advance to the next round of the playoffs. They will need to play with intensity and focus in order to overcome the Timberwolves, but they have shown they are capable of doing so in the past.

THE PICK: Lakers win and advance to play the Grizzlies while the wolves will battle the winner of (9) NOLA vs (10) OKC.

West Play-In Preview & Prediction: (9) Pelicans vs (10) Thunder

The New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder are set to face off in a crucial play-in game for the Western Conference playoffs. The Pelicans come into the game with a slightly better record at 42-40, while the Thunder finished the regular season at 40-42. The two teams split their head-to-head matchups this season, each winning one game.

One big factor for the Pelicans will be the absence of their star player, Zion Williamson, who is expected to miss the game due to injury. However, the Pelicans still have a strong supporting cast, including Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, who can step up in Williamson’s absence. The Thunder, on the other hand, will rely heavily on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to lead them to victory.

The opening odds favor the Pelicans, with a spread of -4.5 and a moneyline of -195. The over/under is set at 232, indicating that this could be a high-scoring affair.

The winner of this game will move on to face the loser of the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers matchup, with the winner of that game earning the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and a chance to face the No. 1 seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round.

So why will the Pelicans win? Despite the absence of Williamson, they still have a talented roster that can compete at a high level. They also have the home-court advantage and a strong track record of performing well in clutch situations. Additionally, the Thunder have struggled on the road this season, with a record of just 15-26 away from home. All of these factors could give the Pelicans the edge they need to secure a victory and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

THE PICK: Pelicans win and advance to play Timberwolves. Then, the Pelicans will take down the Wolves and punch the last playoff ticket in the West!

Now, lets look at the matchups in the Eastern Conference. First, lets start with another 4 and 5 seeded matchup.

(4) Cavaliers vs. (5) Knicks Round 1 Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks will face off in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, with the Cavaliers holding home court advantage as the No. 4 seed. Cleveland has been building around their young core, but the addition of superstar scoring machine Donovan Mitchell has given them a proven playoff performer to help push the squad forward. While the Cavs have aspirations for a deep playoff run, their first goal will be to win a playoff series, something they haven’t accomplished since LeBron James left in 2018.

The Knicks, on the other hand, made a quick turnaround after a disappointing 2021-22 season and have plenty of reason to be optimistic. Their leading scorer, Julius Randle, suffered an ankle injury late in the year, but the hope is that he will be back for this series. Jalen Brunson, the star free agent addition for New York, has been playing at an elite level and has helped elevate the team’s performance. With a young core and plenty of draft capital going forward, the Knicks have a bright future ahead of them. However, they will first need to win a playoff series, something they haven’t accomplished since the 2012-13 season.

The head-to-head record between these two teams is in favor of the Knicks, who won three out of the four matchups in the regular season. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and both teams will be looking to prove themselves in this series. The Cavaliers are the favorites to win, but the Knicks have the talent and the potential to pull off an upset. Ultimately, the series will come down to which team can execute their game plan and play to their strengths.

(3) 76ers vs. (6) Nets Round 1 Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets will face off in what promises to be an exciting first-round matchup of the 2023 NBA playoffs. Philadelphia holds the No. 3 seed and home-court advantage, while the No. 6 seed Nets are looking to pull off an upset.

The 76ers have had a very solid regular season, with Joel Embiid having an MVP-worthy season, leading the team in scoring and contributing to their perfect 4-0 head-to-head record against Brooklyn. However, the Sixers have struggled with injuries in the past, and there are always concerns about Embiid’s health going into the playoffs. Additionally, James Harden, who was acquired by the Nets in a midseason trade, has a mixed track record in the postseason. The Sixers have the talent and depth to make a deep playoff run, but it will all come down to whether they can put everything together and meet expectations.

On the other hand, the Nets have had a rollercoaster of a season, with major trades and injuries affecting their lineup. Despite this, they managed to secure a playoff spot, and with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving now gone, they have a young core ready to step up. The Nets have nothing to lose and can play with a carefree attitude, making them a dangerous opponent for the 76ers. If the Nets can push the series to its limits, it could be a tougher matchup for the Sixers than many expect.

While the 76ers are the clear favorites to win the series, the Nets are not to be underestimated. If they can come together and play at their best, they could potentially pull off an upset. However, it’s more likely that the Sixers will advance to the second round, where they will have their eyes set on a deeper playoff run.

East Play-In Preview & Prediction: (7) Heat vs (8) Hawks

In the first play-in game of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Atlanta Hawks face off against the Miami Heat to determine who takes the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. These two teams are familiar with each other, having met four times in the regular season and playoffs last year. Miami came out on top in five games during the postseason, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Hawks fans.

Although Miami is the favorite heading into this game, the Hawks have Trae Young and a talented roster, making anything possible. The Hawks rested their starters in their previous game against the Boston Celtics to keep them fresh for this matchup. Young is undoubtedly the Hawks’ best player, and missing the playoffs would endanger his reputation.

The Hawks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league this season, often fluctuating around the .500-mark. They finished the season with an even record of 41 wins and 41 losses. Despite making aggressive moves in the market, the team has not evolved much since their conference final appearance last year.

Miami is at a crossroad, either growing and making a big noise in the playoffs or facing dissolution during free agency. They had a mediocre season instead of being one of the top three contenders for winning the East, as many predicted. The Heat have a diverse offense but are terrible on the offensive side of the ball. They have the worst field goal percentages and offensive rebounding in the league, making their defense their only saving grace, the second-best in the league in points per game.

In their previous meetings this season, Miami leads the series 3-1. However, the Hawks lost by a narrow margin in their two games in Miami, indicating that they can compete against the Heat. The pressure on Miami is much greater than on the Hawks, which could be a significant factor since the Heat team looks as if it could break down at any given moment.

THE PICK: Ultimately, the prediction is to side with the underdogs and bet on the Hawks to win. Despite being the favorites, Miami’s poor offensive performance and inconsistency could work in the Hawks’ favor. Therefore, the pick is Atlanta Hawks (+175). I also believe the Heat will be playing, and then beating whoever wins the 9 and 10 matchup between the Bulls and Raptors, the last matchup we have to cover until the Play-In tournament commences.

East Play-In Preview & Prediction: (10) Bulls vs (9) Raptors

This marks the first time that the two teams meet in the post-season as well as the first time that either team takes part in the play-in tournament. Though they haven’t met in the playoff, the feeling of familiarity will be clear for Raptors fans as they take on former fan favourite DeMar DeRozan in the most high-stakes game of the year.

Whoever wins Wednesday’s game will travel to take on the loser of the 7-8 play-in game between the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat next Friday for a chance at the eighth seed and a playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Season Summary The Raptors and Bulls have had turbulent campaigns, with neither squad having surpassed two games above .500 for the entirety of the regular season. They’ve followed similar paths this season and were mirror images during the trade deadline. The Raptors sat four games under .500 when the Feb. 9, deadline passed and the Bulls weren’t much better at three games under the mark.

However, they both decided to toss aside the notion of selling away their players for picks or future assets and instead chose to bolster their squads. The loser may regret their decision to not sell at the deadline. Toronto leads the season series 2-1 with their last matchup ending in a 104-98 Raptors victory on Feb. 28. Key Players DeMar DeRozan, Bulls For the first time since being traded from Toronto, DeRozan is set to take on his former team in the post-season.

The beloved wing hasn’t missed a beat since leaving the team that drafted him, having been named to the past two All-Star games and receiving his second All-NBA selection last season. Since pairing up with Zach LaVine in Chicago, the 14-year wing has been stellar, averaging 26.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists the past two seasons. However, his issues come playoff time have also persisted. In the Bucks’ sweep of the Bulls last season, DeRozan’s scored only 20.8 points per game on 41 per cent shooting from the field, down a fair margin from his 27.9 points per game on 50 per cent from the field in the regular season.

If he wants to avoid a one-and-done in the play-in tournament, he’ll have to stave off his playoff demons in a city all-too familiar with his postseason struggles. Fred VanVleet and the Raptors similarly to DeRozan, shrunk in the playoffs last season, with VanVleet in particular averaging a paltry 13.8 points on 35% shooting from the field in the four games he appeared in against the Philadelphia 76ers. The point guard has been a mixed bag in his seventh season.

Though his scoring has kept pace with last season, he’s shooting a career-worst 34% from three. For a team as range deprived as the Raptors, who currently possess the fourth-worst percentage from deep at 34.2% since Jan. 1, getting VanVleet on a good day will be absolutely key. The offense still runs through VanVleet. His playmaking has improved this season while also limiting turnovers. Only three games ago against the Charlotte Hornets, he broke the Raptors’ single-game record for assists with 20. VanVleet will need to find steady footing against what has been the second-best defense (112.8 defensive rating) in the NBA since the trade deadline. As I said earlier, whoever wins this game will probably lose to the Heat if the Hawks do indeed upset them.

THE PICK: Whoever wins will lose their next game and be eliminated since neither rosters match up to Atlanta’s or Miami’s.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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Warriors Avoid Play-in; Will Play 3-Seed Kings in Round One

By: SpringHillMedia


Warriors Avoid Play-in; Will Play 3-Seed Kings in Round One

With a pair of dominant road wins over the Kings and Blazers, the Golden State Warriors secured a top-six seed in the Western Conference playoffs. This achievement means that they will avoid the play-in tournament that they had been flirting with for weeks. The Warriors finished with a 44-38 record and will take on the Sacramento Kings in a first-round 3-6 matchup that will begin on or after Saturday, April 15.

Despite heading into the weekend with a dismal 9-30 record on the road, the Warriors were gifted two easy wins as both the Kings and Blazers rested their key players. The Warriors took full advantage of the situation, posting an NBA-record 55 points in the first quarter of their Sunday game against the Blazers. They were even able to rest their starters midway through the third quarter.

The Clippers and Suns were also battling it out on Sunday, and the outcome would have an impact on the Warriors’ playoff seeding. A Clippers loss could have seen them relegated to the play-in tournament, while a Suns win would have locked the Warriors in as their playoff opponent. Ultimately, the Clippers won 119-114, securing the No. 5 seed and leaving the Warriors with the No. 6 seed.

In summary, the Golden State Warriors took care of business when it mattered most, clinching a top-six seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Despite a poor record on the road, they were gifted two easy wins and will now face off against the Sacramento Kings in the first round. The Warriors will hope to carry their momentum from the final two games of the regular season into the playoffs and make a deep run.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest and greatest in sports content, including jaw-dropping highlights, top plays, engaging stories, hilarious memes, real-time updates, and more! Stay in the loop with OutOfSightSports!

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LA Rams Release Leonard Floyd and Seven Others

By: OutOfSightSports


Leonard Floyd, the Rams’ outside linebacker, has been released. 

Floyd and seven others were cut by LA on Friday, according to statements released by the organization.

TE Roger Carter, DB T.J. Carter, WR J.J. Koski, TE Jared Pinkney,WR Jaquarii Roberson, WR Jerreth Sterns, and DE Brayden Thomas were cut as well.

Floyd, 30, was in Los Angeles for three seasons. In 50 games, he recorded 29 sacks, logged 59 quarterback hits, and 184 tackles. In each of those three seasons, he produced at least nine sacks, including a career-high 10.5 in his debut season with the Rams in 2020.

He started all 17 games in 2022 and had a team-high nine sacks and 59 total tackles. Floyd recorded 9.5 sacks, 70 total tackles, and an interception in 17 games for the Rams in 2021, en route to winning Super Bowl LVI.

Whether or not the Rams are using Floyd’s post-June 1 designation remains a mystery. If they don’t, they will incur a $19 million cap hit in dead money while only saving $3 million on the cap.

For the Rams, a dead cap charge of $6.5 million in 2023 would be offset by a $15.5 million savings in cap space if the designation were made after June 1.

Stephen A. Smith to Tee Morant: ‘You’re Not One of His Boys, You’re His Dad’

By: OutOfSightSports


Stephen A. Smith to Tee Morant: ‘You’re Not One of His Boys, You’re His Dad’

Ja Morant has reached a bit of a crossroads due to a near-impressively lengthy string of deplorable actions. He can assess the situation and determine that he would rather be the face of the NBA than throw it away. However, we could revisit this after a couple of years and ponder what could have been. Let’s hope that is not the case.

Now, Morant is not with the Memphis Grizzlies and there is no schedule for his return.

This sort of material might be a challenge for sports debate programs thought, as we saw Skip Bayless, of all people, bring up the Crips.  Stephen A. Smith took a different approach, equating Morant’s predicament to Allen Iverson’s early years.

Then he offered Ja’s father, Tee Morant, some parenting advice:

“Now in the case of pops, only thing, I’m not throwing any shade on somebody’s parent or anything like that,” Smith said. “I’m simply trying to highlight and illuminate to Tee Morant the importance of him being a dad. You raised him. You helped get him to this point. Make sure that you don’t let anybody get in the way of what he is on the verge of accomplishing. Make sure you do your part to protect him instead of joining in to have a good time like you one of his boys. You’re not one of his boys. You’re his dad.”

The world is at Ja Morant’s fingertips, and he must choose between doing the right thing or jeopardizing what looks to be like a hall-of-fame career when its all said and done.

Grizzlies Vet Preached Discipline Before Morant Incident

By: OOSSports


Grizzlies Vet Preached Discipline Before Morant Incident

Following the Saturday morning Instagram Live that appeared to show Grizzlies player Ja Morant brandishing a pistol in a nightclub, the NBA and Colorado police have opened investigations into the matter, and the organization has confirmed that the 23-year-old will miss time.

Ja Morant is expected to miss significant time with a knee injury - Home -  A to Z Sports

Since, sources report that Memphis sought to right the ship ahead of Morant’s most latest issue. This included a players-only meeting, in which highly respected veteran Steven Adams spoke out.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated yesterday in a video the following information on the situation:

“I’m told there was a players-only meeting recently,” Charania said. “Steven Adams, their veteran center, he spoke out about how the team needs to show better discipline on the road and how they need to avoid going out on the road.”

Steven Adams Tried to Warn Ja Morant in Players Only Meeting About His  Actions on The Road But Ja Didn't Listen – BlackSportsOnline

Shams also reported that everyone in the room understood that the remark was intended for Morant, who has been a teammate of Adams’ since the Grizzlies acquired him from the Pelicans in August 2021. Adams is not just some grizzled veteran either, Lebron James, Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo have all suggested he’s possibly the strongest player in the NBA right now.

Charania noted that Memphis is an astounding 26–5 at home, but a sour 12–20 on the road this season. With that being said, if they want a chance of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy soon, they are going to have to start taking care of business on the road.

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Does TCU stand a chance against UGA? │CFB Title Game Preview 2023


By: @OOSSports

Does TCU stand a chance against UGA? │CFB Title Game Preview 2023

Ask anyone who knows me; I tell it like it is. If a player lets UGA down, I’m going to bring it up. Accountability is key to building the championship standard the Dawgs are trying to create at Georgia. 

If you truly enjoy winning, whether it’s one championship or three, they’re all equal to me. I don’t know, but I would assume it got sweeter for Mike and Kobe with each passing parade. The Dawgs are looking to bring a title back to Athens for a second straight year, while TCU has a chance to make history and shock the world. In such an unlikely yet intriguing championship game, we must consider what each team must do if they want to be remembered in CFB lore forever.

After two highly contested and chaotic College Football Playoff national semifinal games on Saturday, the matchup has been determined: the reigning champs and unbeaten Dawgs will face the Cinderella TCU Horned Frogs.

The No. 1 Bulldogs (14-0) and No. 3 Horned Frogs (13-1) will battle on January 9 at SoFi Stadium in Southern California. Here is an early look at the matchup between the undefeated Bulldogs and 13-1 Frogs.


TCU’s wide receiver Quentin Johnston and QB Max Duggan vs Georgia’s secondary:

In the Fiesta Bowl, Johnston caught six passes for 163 yards and one touchdown against Michigan’s impressive defensive secondary. Johnston, a junior from Temple, Texas, has caught 65 passes for more than 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. He has had a great season so far. Duggan and his go-to receiver have shown that they can win no matter who their opponent is or how good they are. They are a Cinderella team, but they really aren’t after what I saw from everyone on Saturday. These Frogs certainly are not to be taken lightly, and UGA is highly mistaken if they think TCU got this far to lay down and die. They will come out swinging; they don’t care who you are. This isn’t free money if you plan on betting.

Unfortunately for my Dawgs, they have us right where they want us if they want ANY chance:

Georgia’s secondary is coming off two of its worst performances of the season, surrendering 502 passing yards to LSU in the SEC title game and 348 passing yards to Ohio State in the Peach Bowl. In those games, opponent quarterbacks completed 54 of 86 passes (63%), threw two interceptions, and scored seven touchdowns against Kirby Smart’s team. He is also very aware that this pattern must stop against TCU. UGA will have to mix it up, throw a multitude of different defensive packages, fire zones, and much more to get to Duggan before he makes his reads in time. Jalen Carter got locked up last week, and Ringo looked clueless last weekend. Both definitely lost some NFL stock to me…

The X-Factor:

Tight ends are rarely game changers in big games, but that will be the case in the championship game.

Darnell Washington, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound mammoth of a man for Georgia, left Saturday’s semifinal game with an injured left ankle and did not come back. He was observed entering the locker area with the assistance of two staff members. Smart told reporters later that he didn’t know what was wrong, but that some people thought it was an ankle sprain.

“We’ll have to evaluate and see,” said Smart. “The good news is he’s got more than a normal week [in between games]. I know he’ll do everything he can to get back. He’s headed out west toward where he’s from [he was born in Las Vegas]. It will be important to him to try to get back.”

Washington is a terrific blocker and receiver at the tight end position. This season, he has 25 receptions for 403 yards. Washington and No. 1 tight end Brock Bowers offer Georgia one of the best 1-2 punch combinations at the position. The primary edge Georgia has over TCU is on the lines of scrimmage. Washington is a core part of this. If he is unable to play against TCU, Georgia’s power rushing game and red-zone passing will suffer, but I think UGA will have another player step up if he does not play.

What the Bulldogs need to do to repeat:

The Bulldogs were quite harsh in their assessment of their performance vs Ohio State. Their defense was sliced and diced for the most of the game, quarterback Stetson Bennett IV admitted to playing “about 30 minutes of bad football,” and Georgia missed two field goals. Therefore, this squad will not enter the championship game with a feeling of being superior and disregard TCU. Even with a 14-0 record, the Bulldogs fully understand the importance of what it will take after practically being dead in the water against OSU Saturday.

“If we want any chance of winning a national title, we have to play a lot better,” HC Kirby Smart stated in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Georgia needs to do a much better job of covering receivers and hurrying the quarterback this week. Ohio State’s wide receivers bullied Georgia’s secondary, and quarterback C.J. Stroud had much too much time to read coverage and space to scramble. TCU’s Duggan is a faster runner than Stroud, therefore Georgia will have to keep him in line.

Georgia will likely want to improve its offensive run-pass balance from what it had against Ohio State. The Bulldogs only ran the ball 26 times, which is their fewest since their season-opening game against Oregon. Additionally, offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s approach heavily relies on play-action passing. There is less to fool defenders when there is less of a running-attack. Championship offenses must be multidimensional. 

With that being said, Georgia can pass and run, and on a crucial Peach Bowl night, the strength of its receiving unit was on exhibit. Bennett has a wide range of options for how to move the ball with Adonai Mitchell playing at full strength and Arian Smith showcasing his lightning speed. There are plenty of plays that can be made against the TCU defense, as Michigan and some other opponents have illustrated.

What the Frogs need to do to make HISTORY:

In last year’s SEC title game defeat and Saturday’s close call in the Peach Bowl, Georgia appeared vulnerable to having to face a truly exceptional wide receiver. Quentin Johnston has this power to help the Horned Frogs make plays, and they are not afraid to use it. Garrett Riley, the offensive coordinator, came up with the screen pass plays that led to the touchdown against Michigan on Saturday. Riley is a master at coming up with creative ways to get the ball ton Johnston. Johnston will likely need a game-changing effort to win the game.

But if the championship game becomes a track meet, it will be difficult to play a one-dimensional game against Georgia. Consequently, TCU will also need better output from its running game, regardless of which running back starts (Kendre Miller or Emari Demercado). This is easier said than done against a Georgia defensive front headed by defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who is due for a massive game.

The Horned Frogs’ defense was strong against Michigan’s run game, but it still allowed over 40 points while playing complementary football with two interceptions of their own. The defense may have to stand up without receiving gifts like it did from Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, but it is unknown how it will hold up because it is tough to predict which version of the Georgia offense we will watch. If Georgia has Washington, TCU will need to really, really step up like they did vs. Michigan.

My Conclusion: I’m rolling with the Dawgs in what I expect to be a really intense, competitive, and hard-hitting game.

Sacramento Kings star De’Aaron Fox said this about Joel Embiid

By: OutOfSightSports


Sacramento Kings star De’Aaron Fox said this about Joel Embiid

Last season, the Sacramento Kings traded one of its young and promising talents, Tyrese Haliburton, to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, a seasoned All-Star.

While the move drew a lot of attention for the Kings since Haliburton prospered right away in Indiana, and Sabonis didn’t take the Kings above and beyond, the transaction is starting to look much better for Sacramento through the 2022-2023 NBA season.

According to EuroHoops.net, Sacramento star guard De’Aaron Fox believes Sabonis is a top-three big guy in the league as well.

So, in Fox’s opinion, who is Sabonis up there with?

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

“For me, it’s (Nikola) Jokic, (Joel) Embiid, and (Sabonis). Those are the top three centers in the league.“

Jokic is without a doubt one of the top centers in the league. The Nuggets’ star has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the past two seasons.

It’s difficult to argue against Embiid being in the same conversation yet, given that he lost to Jokic both times despite being named the league’s MVP runner-up. I honestly would flip a coin and take either though. Both unreal talents. Anyways, Embiid was able to establish himself last year as the NBA’s scoring champion, elevating his offensive game to a level not seen at the center position since the legendary Shaquille O’Neal.

Fox joins a lengthy line of NBA players who see Embiid as one of the game’s most dominant big men. There isn’t much to argue about as the Sixers star continues to rack up All-Star appearances while being in the running for seasonal accolades and All-NBA selection.

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Free Early Rose Bowl Pick 01/02/2023 | PSU vs. Utah | 5:00 PM EST

By: OutOfSightSports


Free Early Rose Bowl Pick 01/02/2023 | PSU vs. Utah | 5:00 PM EST

What a bowl season and CFB playoff we have gotten so far this year, and the last day of the 2022 calendar year HAD to have been the best two semi-final matchups in CFB playoff history. As a Georgia fan, I thought my Dawgs were out for the count and still don’t know how the guys pulled it off. Also, there is absolutely nothing fraudulent in TCU. Anyways, let’s talk about who we are rolling with in this year’s Rose Bowl, everyone loves “The Granddaddy of Them All”

Analysis and key takeaways:

Elite Utah CB, Clark Phillips lll, has made the choice to miss out this year’s Rose Bowl in order to focus on training for the draft. However according to Football Outsiders, Penn State has a superior defensive line (ranked seventh as opposed to Utah at 58th), special teams (ranked twenty-three as opposed to sixty-fourth), and overall defense (ranked fifth as opposed to seventeenth). During the season, Utah had a record of 2-3 SU and 0-5 ATS when the line was 7 or less.

PSU S Ji’Ayir Brown

Penn State has a record of 8-1 SU and 6-2 ATS when playing on grass, while Utah has a record of just 3-2 SU and 3-2 ATS when playing on grass as well. Penn State has a sharper record against other bowl teams, especially on defense, and has played on a more difficult schedule this season. (ranked 10th compared to Utah at 21st). Take the underdog Nittany Lions.

THE PICK: PSU +1.5 (-110)

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Doncic Leads Mavs to Comeback W in Generational Performance

“I’m tired as hell.”

In his initial, unfiltered thoughts, Mavericks star Luka Doncic reacted to one of the most extraordinary performances in NBA history and the most spectacular game of his young career.

It’s easy to see why. 

Simply taking in the magnitude of his contributions to Tuesday’s overtime win over the Knicks is exhausting.

He scored 60 points, more than Dirk Nowitzki’s previous franchise record of 53, and he hauled in a career-high 21 rebounds to drop the first 60-20 triple- double in NBA history. He also served out 10 assists to ultimately give him a total of 52 total triple doubles in his career already.

All of this was not for nothing though, as it resulted in the Mavericks coming back from a nine-point deficit in the final 26.8 seconds of regulation (more on that below) and then winning the game in  OT by a score of 126-121.

The highlight was at the conclusion of that comeback run, when Dallas desperately needed a basket and all of Doncic’s skill, experience, and a bit of luck came into play.

With 4.2 seconds left and the Mavericks down by three, Doncic went to the line. After making his first free throw, Doncic purposefully missed his second in the vain hope that a Mavs player would somehow corral it and force overtime.

Someone, it turned out, and that someone was Doncic, who… well, just watch,

Doncic, who finished with 21 points on 31 shots, scored seven of Dallas’ eleven points in overtime to help secure the comeback and put the finishing touches on his generational performance.

Along with Harden’s 60-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist performance for the Rockets in 2018, Luka became just the second player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double of any kind.

A 50-point triple-double is an INCREDIBLE accomplishment alone. Only Wilt Chamberlain (twice) and Elgin Baylor grabbed 20 boards in theirs, making them two of only six players to ever do so, according to ESPN’s Stats & Info.

Raiders @ Steelers Pick and Prediction | 12/24 | 8:15 PM EST

By: OutOfSightSports

12/24/22 5:15 PM ET

Raiders @ Steelers Pick and Prediction | 12/24 | 8:15 PM EST

Derek Carr will try to reverse his terrible track record in freezing temperatures, which stands at 1-7 when the weather drops below 40 degrees and 0-4 when it’s below 32 degrees. Pittsburgh is great at stifling the run, therefore the game will be in his freezing hands.

Kenny Pickett is expected to contribute to Pittsburgh’s rushing attack in his comeback for this matchup. In three of their last four games, the Steelers’ rushing attack has topped 150 yards. Meanwhile, the Raiders’ rushing defense just got trampled by the Patriots. The Steelers are the better team due to their stronger coaching staff and home field advantage vs a team that obviously plays in a dome.

THE PICK: STEELERS -2.5 (-110)