2021 State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament

FAQ: NBA Play-In Tournament

The State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament will include teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference and take place May 18-21.

> State Farm Play-In Tournament: May 18-21 | Playoffs Start May 22

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 State Farm 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 State Farm 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: Which teams will participate in the Play-In Tournament?

Here are the matchups and the schedule:

Eastern Conference
• No. 8 Wizards at No. 7 Celtics (9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 18, TNT)
• No. 10 Hornets at No. 9 Pacers (6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 18, TNT)
• 9/10 winner vs. 7/8 loser (8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 20, TNT)

Western Conference
• No. 8 Warriors at No. 7 Lakers (10 p.m. ET on May 19, ESPN)
• No. 10 Spurs at No. 9 Grizzlies (7:30 p.m. ET on May 19, ESPN)
• 9/10 winner vs. 7/8 loser (TBD on Friday, May 21, ESPN)


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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