2021 NBA Playoffs

FAQ: NBA Play-In Tournament

The NBA Play-In Tournament will include teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference.

Play-In Tournament Format

Prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved a proposal to implement a playoff Play-In Tournament on a one-year basis for the 2020-21 season. The Play-In Tournament, which will take place after the regular season and before the first round of the playoffs, will include the teams with the seventh-highest through the tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference.


Q: When is the Play-In Tournament?
The Play-In Tournament will begin Tuesday, May 18 and conclude Friday, May 21. 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.

 


Q: How will the Play-In Tournament be structured?
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.

 


Q: What happens to the winners of the Play-In Tournament?
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.

 


Q: When Do The Playoffs Start?
The NBA Playoffs will start on Saturday, May 22 and conclude no later than July 22.

 

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