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NBA Play-In Tournament


Last season the NBA halted play on March 11th, 2020. The season resumed in the bubble and the Los Angeles Lakers were eventually crowned champions. Playing in and adjusting to bubble life wasn’t the only different part of last year’s Coronavirus impacted NBA season. The NBA also implemented a “play-in tournament,” prior to the playoffs, which had the eighth and ninth seeds of both conferences squaring off to fight for a playoff berth. The play-in tournament kicked off competition in the playoffs.

In the eyes of the NBA, the play-in tournament was a successful experiment. This pre-playoffs tournament has returned and has been expanded. This year, teams seeded seven to ten in their respective conferences will face off with the final two (of eight) playoff spots up for grabs.

How Will It Work?

As aforementioned, in each conference, teams falling into the seven to ten category in the standings will participate in a play-in tournament. The first games will be between the seventh and eighth seeded teams, followed by games between the ninth and tenth seeded teams. The winner of the seven and eight game is awarded the seventh seed, while the loser of that same game must face the winner of the nine-ten game for a chance to get the final spot in the playoffs. 

When Will It Happen?

The play-in tournament will take place from May 18th to May 21st, and the NBA Playoffs will begin on May 22nd. 


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Spencer Harnden

Wow Timmy great article! I didn’t know this before so thank you for teaching me about this play-in tournament. Very well written, and I can’t wait to who will be playing.


Great post Timmy! You did a great job explaining the tournament. As a basketball fan I like the play-in tournament because I think it makes the playoffs more interesting. And as a Celtics fan I am excited that the NBA decided to have the play-in tournament again because the Celtics are currently 7th in the east but could easily drop and the play-in tournament means that even if they do fall out of the top 8, they will have a chance to make the playoffs. I really enjoyed reading this article. Great job!

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