Monday, May 27, 2024

How NBA Play-In Tournament works: Brackets, schedule and history

Must read

play

Starting with the 2020 NBA playoffs, the league changed how the postseason field in each conference is determined. Instead of the standard top eight teams making the playoffs, more franchises have a chance to play their way in to the postseason.

In 2021, the NBA instituted the Play-In Tournament and it’s remained in place ever since. Here’s how it works:

What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The current system involves four teams in each conference. At the end of the regular season, the teams ranked seventh through 10th enter the tournament to determine the final two playoff teams in each conference bracket.

2024 NBA playoffs: 76ers, Lakers, Warriors favorites to win title from Play-In Tournament

How does the NBA Play-In Tournament work?

The tournament’s divided into two rounds:

Round 1

  • Game 1: No. 7 seed vs. No. 8 seed
  • Game 2: No. 9 seed vs. No. 10 seed

The No. 7 and No. 9 seeds play at home in the first round. The winner of Game 1 secures the No. 7 seed in their respective conference playoff bracket. The loser of Game 1 continues to the second round and hosts the winner of Game 2. The loser of Game 2 is eliminated from playoff contention.

Round 2

  • Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 winner

The winner of this game secures the No. 8 and final seed in the playoffs. The loser is eliminated from playoff contention.

2024 NBA Play-In Tournament schedule

The tournament runs from April 16-19. Round 1 games will likely take place on April 16-17 with the Round 2 game in each conference set for April 19. The NBA playoffs begin a day later.

2024 NBA Play-In Tournament bracket

The playoff field is a tight race in both conferences as multiple teams are jockeying for position around the play-in seeds. Here’s how the bracket looks before games on April 10:

Western Conference

Eastern Conference

Joel Embiid returns to the court: Reigning NBA MVP returns to 76ers, says meniscus injury ‘took a toll mentally’

NBA Play-In Tournament history

2020 NBA playoffs

The first year of a play-in featured just one game in the Western Conference between No. 9 Memphis and No. 8 Portland. The Trail Blazers won and advanced to the playoffs.

2021 NBA Play-In Tournament

Western Conference

Round 1:

  • No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers 103, No. 8 Golden State Warriors 100
  • No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies 100, No. 10 San Antonio Spurs 96

Round 2:

  • No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies 117, No. 8 Golden State Warriors 112 (OT)

Los Angeles and Memphis advanced.

Eastern Conference

Round 1:

Round 2:

  • No. 8 Washington Wizards 142, No. 9 Indiana Pacers 115

Boston and Washington advanced.

‘This book furthers my mission’: LeBron James’ second children’s book, I Am More Than, publishes Tuesday

2022 NBA Play-In Tournament

Western Conference

Round 1:

Round 2:

  • No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans 105, No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers 101

Minnesota and New Orleans advanced.

Eastern Conference

Round 1:

Round 2:

  • No. 9 Atlanta Hawks 107, Cleveland Cavaliers 101

Brooklyn and Atlanta advanced.

NBA playoffs bracket watch: Which teams are rising and falling in standings?

2023 NBA Play-In Tournament

Western Conference

Round 1:

  • No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers 108, No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves 102 (OT)
  • No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder 123, No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans 118

Round 2:

  • No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves 120, No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder 95

Los Angeles and Minnesota advanced.

Eastern Conference

Round 1:

Round 2:

  • No. 7 Miami Heat 102, No. 10 Chicago Bulls 91

Atlanta and Miami advanced.

Empowered in the arena: NBA’s three women DJs are leaving an impact that is felt far beyond game days

Has an NBA Play-In Tournament team made the Finals?

Yes. In 2023, the No. 7 seed Heat lost a Round 1 game but won in Round 2 and advanced to the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets. The No. 7 seed Lakers made the conference finals in 2023 as well.

Latest article