How the new NBA play-in tournament works


How does the NBA play-in match work and which groups will take part through the 2020-21 season?

The league first examined out the play-in spherical through the 2020 NBA restart in Orlando, Florida, with the Portland Trail Blazers topping the Memphis Grizzlies to get the ultimate spot within the Western Conference playoffs. In November, the NBA’s board of governors unanimously accredited a plan to institute a brand new model of the play-in on a one-year foundation.

The play-in provides an interesting wrinkle to the top of the common season and the beginning of the postseason. Teams had been already much less incentivized to tank video games down the stretch because of the flattened lottery odds instituted in 2019. Now that the prime 10 groups within the standings will end the common season with not less than an opportunity to make the playoffs, extra franchises will keep within the combine for longer. Expect some heated contests as groups push to make it into (or above) the play-in fray.

Here’s the whole lot it’s essential to know concerning the play-in setup this season, together with the way it works, when and the place it is occurring and the most definitely matchups.


How does the NBA play-in match work?

There might be six complete video games involving eight groups as a part of the play-in match, cut up up between the 2 conferences.

The groups that end Nos. 1-6 in every convention might be assured playoff spots, whereas groups Nos. 7-10 within the standings will enter the play-in. Any group that finishes worse than No. 10 might be within the lottery. Since there’s a probability for groups to complete with an uneven variety of video games performed due COVID-19 problems, the NBA will use successful share to find out the standings.

Here’s how the video games will work:

  • Game 1: The No. 7 group within the standings by successful share will host the No. 8 group, with the winner incomes the No. 7 seed within the playoffs. The shedding group will get one other probability in Game 3.

  • Game 2: The No. 9 group will host the No. 10 group, with the winner shifting on to Game 3. The loser is eradicated and enters the NBA draft lottery.

  • Game 3: The loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup will host the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup, with the victor grabbing the No. 8 seed within the postseason. The loser of Game 3 additionally enters the lottery.

This signifies that the groups with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest successful percentages could have two alternatives to win one recreation to earn a playoff spot, whereas the groups with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest successful percentages have to win two straight video games to advance.


When is the NBA play-in match?

The final day of the NBA common season is scheduled for May 16. The play-in will start May 18 and finish May 21, with the primary spherical of the NBA playoffs tipping off May 22.


Which groups are projected to make the NBA play-in match?

If the season ended as we speak (April 6), the matchups could be:

Western Conference

Eastern Conference

And listed below are the most definitely individuals in every convention, through projections utilizing ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI), which elements in accidents, power of schedule and the on-court influence of every rotation participant.

West No. 7 vs. No. 8

  • Dallas Mavericks: 45.2% probability

  • Portland Trail Blazers: 38.5%

  • Golden State Warriors: 34.6%

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 34.6%

  • New Orleans Pelicans: 20.1%

West No. 9 vs. No. 10

  • Golden State Warriors: 46.6%

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 46.3%

  • New Orleans Pelicans: 44.7%

  • San Antonio Spurs: 33.0%

  • Sacramento Kings: 26.6%

East No. 7 vs. No. 8

East No. 9 vs. No. 10

  • New York Knicks: 54.7%

  • Toronto Raptors: 53.9%

  • Chicago Bulls: 34.5%

  • Indiana Pacers: 27.3%

  • Atlanta Hawks: 14.6%

When we polled ESPN’s consultants final week, right here had been their picks for probably the most thrilling potential play-in matchups:

  • Tim MacMahon: Warriors vs. Mavericks (West)

  • Royce Young: Heat vs. Celtics (East)

  • Bobby Marks: Warriors vs. Mavericks (West)

  • Kevin Arnovitz: Warriors vs. Lakers (West)

  • Jerry Bembry: Heat vs. Celtics (East)



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