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NBA play-in tournament 2023: schedule, predictions, and standings

NBA play-in tournament 2023: schedule, predictions, and standings

ESPN.com4 minutes to read

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The NBA play cycle adds a nice wrinkle to an end 2022-23 regular season and postseason start. Teams were already less motivated to tank games in the long run due to the flat lottery odds that were put in place in 2019. Now that the top 10 teams in the standings will finish the regular season with at least a chance to make the playoffs, more franchises will remain in the mix no longer.

Some players like Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic have been less than thrilled by the prospect of being in the championship, but we should expect some heated contests as teams battle for the final seeds in each. The conference, as we’ve seen every season the NBA has used this setup.

Here’s everything you need to know about tournament play in 2023, including matches, when and where it happens and how it works.


What teams do you play?

Here’s a look at the current expected matches played as of today (through matches March 29):

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Below is the current playing tournament standings for each conference.

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

The complete NBA standings


What games do I need to watch?

These games can have an impact on race play over the final weeks of the season (games involving multiple-playing adjacent teams are listed in wide).

Thursday, March 30th

Friday, March 31st

  • Bulls at Hornets, 7 p.m. ET

  • Thunder at Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

  • Raptors at 76ers, 7 p.m. ET

  • Magic at Wizards, 7 p.m. ET

  • Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Falcons at Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Clippers at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. ET

  • Lakers at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. ET

  • Tottenham at Warriors, 10 p.m. ET

  • Nuggets on Sunday, 10:30 p.m. ET

Saturday 1st April

  • Mavericks at Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Clippers at Pelicans, 8:30 p.m. ET

Complete the upcoming NBA schedule


Luka Doncic Just 29,702 points behind LeBron James on the list of leading scorers in the NBA.Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports

How does the NBA play cycle work?

There will be six total matches involving eight teams as part of the tournament, split between the two conferences.

Teams finishing 1-6 in each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots, while a team #7-10 in the standings will enter play. Whichever team finishes worse than No. 10 will be in the lottery.

Here’s how the games will work:

  • Game 1: The No. 7-ranked team will host the No. 8 team, with the No. 7 seed winning the playoffs. The losing team gets another chance in the third game.

  • Game 2: The No. 9 team will host the No. 10 team, with the winner moving on to Game 3. The loser is eliminated and entered into the NBA draft lottery.

  • Third game: The loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup will host the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup, with the victor clinching the No. 8 seed in the postseason. The loser of Game 3 also enters the lottery.

This means that the teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages will have two chances to win one game to earn a playoff spot, while the teams with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest winning percentages need to win two straight games. to move on.

What is the importance of seeding in racing play?

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