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NBA In-Season Tournament semifinal preview: Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers expected to progress

The NBA In-Season Tournament has been a success thanks to higher stakes and a nice prize money incentive.

It’s now the semifinals of the tournament and teams are treating the single-elimination games like playoff matchups.

Thirty teams started and only four teams remain, so let’s preview matchups between Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers.

All you need to know about the NBA In-Season Tournament

Pacers need to keep Bucks duo quiet

WhereT-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
When5:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 7
How to watchESPN
OddsMIL Bucks -5.0, IND Pacers +170

The Bucks are -5.0-point favorites in the semifinals, mostly thanks to the one-two punch of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee started slowly as the duo of superstars needed some time to develop chemistry, and after just a few short weeks, the Bucks are back to being a Championship contender.

Their quarterfinal matchup was against Jalen Brunson and the Knicks and the Bucks didn’t have to sweat too much in that one. Milwaukee won by a score of 146-122 and the offense has never looked better.

Next up is the Pacers, who weren’t expected to have gone this far in the tournament - especially considering their most recent opponent.

Indiana is coming off a 122-112 win over the Boston Celtics in the quarterfinals in a game in which Tyrese Haliburton put the team on his back with a triple-double.

The Pacers have the athleticism to guard Milwaukee on the perimeter, but the primary concern will be the human mismatch that is Antetokounmpo.

If Myles Turner can keep Antetokounmpo to 25 points or less, this could be a much closer game than anticipated. However, the Bucks may exploit Indiana’s questionable defense to not only win but cover the spread too.

NBA In-Season Tournament MVP odds

Pelicans eye another shock against Lakers

WhereT-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
When9:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 7
How to watchTNT
OddsLA Lakers -2.0, NO Pelicans +110

In the West, it’s an unlikely pairing of the Pelicans and Lakers in the semi-finals. However, the Pelicans have been one of the most impressive teams in the entire tournament.

New Orleans has defeated the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, and Sacramento Kings to get to this point in the tournament.

Each one of those teams except the Clippers is in front of the Pelicans in the Western Conference standings. It’s been a true underdog story for the Pelicans thus far.

As for the Lakers, their quarter-final matchup against the Phoenix Suns had a lot of controversy in the final few minutes of the game.

Nevertheless, the Lakers are into the semifinals and just one win away from participating in the first-ever In-Season Tournament championship game.

Los Angeles has already defeated the Suns twice (once in the group stage, once in the knockout round), Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz to reach this point, so it’s no secret that the Pelicans have had a much harder road.

But, even with a string of impressive victories in the tournament, the Pelicans are once again underdogs.

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