A new NBA season enters its decisive stretch. After the regular season, it’s now time for the Playoffs. They’ll begin on Saturday, April 15, and run through June, with the Finals scheduled to begin on Thursday, June 1. Before they tip-off, though, the Play-In tournament has to determine a few remaining places.
Let The Play-In Begin
Before the playoffs, the Play-In of both conferences will take place. This will be a series of matches that will define the seventh and eighth seeds of the East and the West.
The system is as follows: the seventh place of each conference in the regular season receives the eighth. The winner of that match enters the Playoffs as the seventh seed.
For its part, the loser of that game faces the winner of a previous match between the ninth and tenth of the regular season. Whoever wins enters the postseason as the eighth seed. The Play-In will be held beginning Tuesday, April 11, running until Friday, April 14.
Here’s the complete schedule for the Play-In tournament:
Tuesday, April 11
- 7:30 PM – Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks
- 10:00 PM – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Wednesday, April 12
- 7:00 PM – Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls
- 9:30 PM – New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Friday, April 14
- 7:00 PM or 7:30 PM – Loser Heat/Hawks vs. winner Raptors/Bulls
- 9:30 PM or 10:00 PM – Loser Lakers/Timberwolves vs. winner Pelicans/Oklahoma City
Playoffs In The Wings
Once the eight qualifiers from each conference have been defined, the same Playoff format of recent years is maintained, with four rounds for the best of seven games, until the champion is crowned.
In the first round, the first of each conference faces the eighth, the second with the seventh and so on. The winners advance to the Conference Semifinals, then the Conference Finals, and eventually the NBA Finals. In each series, home-court advantage is determined by each team’s regular season win-loss record.
In the East, there are two confirmed games. The Philadelphia 76ers will take on the Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the New York Knicks.
The Boston Celtics are in, but are waiting to see who wins the Miami Heat-Atlanta Hawks game. The Milwaukee Bucks are in, as well, and will face the loser of that game or the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Chicago Bulls, according to what happens in the Play-In.
In the West, there are also set games ready to take place. The Sacramento Kings will take on the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns are preparing for a showdown with the LA Clippers.
The Memphis Grizzlies will meet the winner of the LA Lakers-Minnesota Timberwolves game. Lastly, the Denver Nuggets will battle the loser of that game or the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans-Oklahoma City Thunder, based on play-in action.