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.
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.
The second half of the regular season will be followed by the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament, May 18-21!
Teams with the 7th-highest through the 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference will qualify to determine the 7th & 8th seeds.
— NBA (@NBA) March 10, 2021
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.