The Play-In Tournament begins Tuesday, May 18 and concludes Friday, May 21. In the Western Conference, the Lakers will take on the Warriors on 5/19 at 7pm PT. If they win, the Lakers will be the 7th seed and take on the Phoenix Suns. If the Lakers lose, they would take on the winner of Memphis and San Antonio on 5/21 (time TBD) with the winner of that game being the 8th seed and would face Utah in the first round of the playoffs. Both possible play-in games for the Lakers will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN.
Here is a description of the Play-In tournament format.
The teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot. The teams with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have to win two consecutive games to earn a playoff spot.
At the conclusion of the regular season but before the first round of the playoffs, the team with the 7th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 8th-highest winning percentage in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed.
The team with the 9th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in the “Nine-Ten Game”. The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed.
The winners of the Play-In tournament will receive the 7th and 8th-seeded positions in each conference. Following the Play-In Tournament, the NBA Playoffs will commence with the traditional 16-team, best-of-seven series structure. The NBA Playoffs will start on Saturday, May 22.