As a rule, human beings are obstinately resistant to change. People once refused to enter elevators without a human operator. A 1995 story in Newsweek decried the benefits of the emerging internet, characterizing it as merely a fad. Despite its consistently proven life-saving effectiveness, one in 10 people still don't wear a seatbelt in the front seat.
The same is true with the NBA Play-In Tournament, which began during the 2020 pandemic bubble and has continued every year since. If you'll recall, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said in 2021 that "needs to be fired." Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic , saying "I don't see the point of that."
Ironically enough, James now finds himself fighting for the Lakers' playoff lives in the play-in, while Doncic's Mavericks decided torather than try for the No. 10 spot.
It appears the play-in is here to stay, so it's worth a refresher on how the whole thing works. Below you will find the format, schedule, matchups and viewing information, with the regular season in the rearview mirror.
NBA Play-In Tournament format
There are eight total teams involved in the NBA's Play-In Tournament -- seeds Nos. 7-10 from each conference. The No. 7 teams hosted the No. 8 teams on April 11, with the winners having earned the No. 7 seed in the playoff field. No. 9 teams hosted the No. 10 teams on April 12, with the loser having been eliminated from playoff contention. On April 14, the losers of the 7-8 games will host the winners of the 9-10 games, with the victors earning the No. 8 seed in the 16-team playoffs field. A little confusing, but it makes sense when you look at it:
- Games 1 and 2: No. 8 at No. 7 (winner earns No. 7 seed)
- Games 3 and 4: No. 10 at No. 9 (loser eliminated, winner advances to play loser of Game 1)
- Games 5 and 6: Winner of Game 2 at Loser of Game 1 (loser eliminated, winner earns No. 8 seed)
NBA Play-In Tournament schedule
All six games of the play-in tournament will be televised on TNT and ESPN. Here are results and broadcast schedule.
Tuesday, April 11
- Game 1: No. 8 Hawks 116, No. 7 Heat 105
- Game 2: No. 7 Lakers 108, No. 8 Timberwolves 102 (OT)
Wednesday, April 12
- Game 3: No. 10 Bulls 109, No. 9 Raptors 105
- Game 4: No. 10 Thunder 123, No. 9 Pelicans 118
Friday, April 14
- Game 5: No. 10 Bulls at No. 7 Heat, 7 p.m. ET (TNT)
- Game 6: No. 10 Thunder at No. 8 Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)