The NBA is introducing a 4-team 'play-in' tournament before the playoffs - here's how it works
NBAhas a play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff spots this year.
- The 7th and 8th seeds will play one game to determine the 7th seed.
- The loser will play the winner of a game between the 9th and 10th seeds for the final playoff spot.
This NBA season will feature the first four-team play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff seeds in each conference.
The tournament will include the teams seeded 7th through 10th in both conferences. After the regular season, it will work as follows:
- The 7th and 8th seeds will play one game. The winner will be the 7th seed in the playoffs.
- The 9th and 10th seeds will play one game. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.
- The loser of the 7-8 game and the winner of the 9-10 game will play each other to determine the 8th and final playoff spot.
The play-in tournament aims to create more competitive playoff races and discourage late-season tanking from teams no longer in the playoff hunt.This has already happened this season. In the Eastern Conference, there is a four-team race to get seeds 4-6 and avoid the play-in tournament. And an additional five teams are fighting for the 7-10 seeds. The Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls are both more than 10 games below. 500 and in 11th and 12th place. Whereas teams in their positions would normally tank, both are still fighting to get the 10th seed and keep their playoff hopes alive in the play-in tournament.
The same is true in the West. The Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Portland Trail Blazers are all scrapping to stay above the 7th seed. Meanwhile, five other teams are fighting for the 7-10 seeds to make the postseason.The tournament has its critics within the NBA: Luka Doncic and LeBron James have been critical of the idea. But with two weeks left to play, the NBA has a tight race with several big-name teams, and it doesn't feel like the play-in tournament is going to be a one-off.
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