Introduced during the 2019/20 season due to the interruption in March for the health emergency, the NBA has continued to use the new Play-In Tournament format for the following seasons.
What is the NBA Play-In?
The NBA Play-In Tournament is a format used to determine the final playoff spots in each conference. It involves teams ranked 7th-10th in the standings competing for the last two spots in the NBA Playoffs.
Why are there Play-In games in NBA?
The NBA introduced play-in games starting in the 2019-2020 season as a way to increase excitement and competitiveness in the playoff race. The play-in games provide more teams with a chance to make the playoffs, even if they didn’t finish in the top eight in their respective conferences.
The play-in games have been well-received by fans and players alike, as they provide more meaningful games at the end of the regular season. Additionally, the play-in games have the potential to produce exciting matchups and upsets, which can generate more interest and viewership for the NBA.
How does the NBA Play-In work?
The NBA Play-In Tournament involves teams ranked 7th-10th in each conference (8 teams in total) competing for the final two playoff spots and it is composed by 3 games for each conference:
- the 7th and 8th seeds play each other, with the winner clinching the 7th seed.
- The loser of that game then faces the winner of a game between the 9th and 10th seeds, with the winner of that game clinching the 8th seed.
The Playoffs then proceed as normal with 8 teams from each conference.
NBA Play-In 2023 Start Date
For the NBA 2022-23 season, the Play-In Tournament will take place from April 11th to 14th, 2023, between the last day of the Regular Season, April 9th, and the start of the playoffs. Infact, the day after the end of the Play-In Tournament, the NBA Playoffs 2023 will begin.
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NBA Play-In Tournament Schedule 2023
|April 09||NBA Regular Season ends|
|April 11||Play-In Game 1||East 7 (Miami Heat) vs. East 8 (Atlanta Hawks)|
|April 11||Play-In Game 2||West 7 (Los Angeles Lakers) vs. West 8 (Minnesota Timberwolves)|
|April 12||Play-In Game 3||East 9 (Toronto Raptors) vs. East 10 (Chicago Bulls)|
|April 12||Play-In Game 4||West 9 (New Orleans Pelicans) vs. West 10 (Oklahoma City Thunder)|
|April 14||Play-In Game 5||East Loser 7/8 vs. East Winner 9/10|
|April 14||Play-In Game 6||West Loser 7/8 vs. West Winner 9/10|
Who participates in the NBA Play-In?
The teams that finish the Regular Season ranked from 7th to 10th place in their respective conferences play in the NBA Play-In Tournament. The last four teams to qualify for the NBA Playoffs will come from the eight teams participating in the tournament.