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INDIANAPOLIS — The final two play-in games will go down Friday night. First, it's the Atlanta Hawks at the Cleveland Cavaliers, then the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the New Orleans Pelicans.

And while the Pacers aren't even in the playoff conversation following a 25-57 season, fans should root to see a Cavs win.

A Cavs win over the Hawks, who are led by former Pacers coach Nate McMillan, would result in a playoff berth and therefore the Pacers would receive their first-round pick this year — which is slotted to be 16th.

The Pacers agreed to a deal at the trade deadline with the Cavaliers — sending Caris LeVert and Miami's 2022 second-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for the Cavs' lottery-protected 1st in 2022, Houston's 2022 2nd, Utah's 2027 2nd, and guard Ricky Rubio, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.

The protections on the pick allow for it to stay with Cleveland if it lands in the lottery (picks 1-14). Otherwise, it belongs to the Pacers.

If the pick does not convey to the Pacers this season, they would then be due a lottery-protected 1st from the Cavs in 2023.

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So while the Pacers' season ended concluded on Sunday, there will be supreme interest on Hawks-Cavs Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).

The Hawks won the last three meetings this season.


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