Wednesday, May 22, 2024

When does NBA play-in tournament start? Games could feature Lakers, Warriors, Heat

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The NBA scored with its implementation of the play-in game tournament.

There is immense focus on the bottom seeds, especially when the teams involved are the Los Angeles Lakers (LeBron James, Anthony Davis), Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green), Sacramento Kings (De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis) and Miami Heat (Jimmy Butler).

The play-in game tournament could also involve some of these teams (and stars): Philadelphia 76ers (Joel Embiid), Phoenix Suns (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal), New Orleans Pelicans (Zion Williamson), Cleveland Cavaliers (Donovan Mitchell), Orlando Magic (Paolo Banchero) and Indiana Pacers (Tyrese Haliburton).

And last season, play-in game winners had success in the playoffs, including Miami’s path from the play-in game to the NBA Finals.

Here’s everything you need to know about the NBA play-in tournament:

What is the play-in game tournament?

The play-in format involves the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh-place team plays the eighth-place team, and the ninth-place team plays the 10th-place team. The winner of the 7-8 game gets the seventh seed in the playoffs, and the loser of the 7-8 game plays the winner of the 9-10 game for the eighth seed.

  • The 7-8 teams just need to win one game to make the playoffs, and the 9-10 teams need to win twice.
  • Seed Nos. 1-6 in both conferences are guaranteed a first-round series.

When does the NBA play-in tournament start?

The play-in games begin Tuesday, April 16 and conclude Friday, April 19.

What TV channels are showing the NBA play-in tournament?

TNT and ESPN will combine to televise all six games of the NBA play-in tournament. The game and broadcast schedule will be announced when finalized.

Who is in the 2024 play-in tournament?

Not all spots have been determined, but in the East, Chicago and Atlanta will play each other in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup, and in the West, Sacramento, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers are in the play-in game and will be joined by either Phoenix or New Orleans.

Why is there a play-in game tournament?

Creating more opportunities to make the playoffs and curtail tanking has worked for the NBA. The entire play-in game field wasn’t decided until the final two days of this season.

What have been the results?

The seventh-place team is 5-1, and the ninth-place team is 4-2 in opening play-in games; the No. 8 seed is 1-0 against the No. 10 seed, and the No. 7 seed is 1-0 against the No. 10 seed; the ninth-place team is 3-1 against the eighth-place team for the eighth seed.

Last season marked the first time a play-in team won a playoff series since the four-team play-in tournament began in 2021. The Miami Heat, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern conference, advanced to the NBA Finals with victories over No. 1 seed Milwaukee, No. 5 seed New York and No. 2 Boston before losing to the West’s No. 1 seed Denver in the NBA Finals. In the Western conference, the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 2 seed Memphis and No. 6 seed Golden State before losing to the Nuggets in the conference finals in 2023.

When do the first-round best-of-7 playoff series begin?

First-round playoff games begin with series-openers Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21.

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