Are the teams that compete in the NBA play-in tournament already playoff teams or are these teams still on the outside looking in?
The regular season is over and we now have a three-game situation that is a mini-tournament to determine the two lowest-seeded teams in the playoffs. Normally, these teams would almost be overlooked as fodder for the higher seeds, but this is a bit of a different situation.
A New Level of Interest was Created
There’s no denying the length of the regular season for the NBA makes it hard to stay focused and interested in the action for most of the fans. Typically, the top eight teams in each conference are set at least a few games before the end of the season, which makes the final two weeks boring and a time when many look for other sports to watch.
That wasn’t the case for the NBA this year. Fans of basketball were locked in to see which teams would capture the spots in the play-in tournament and which ones would be clear of this small gauntlet of games that could determine the seven and eight seeds on both sides. The final result is higher ratings for the last few NBA games as fans looked to see which teams were in the 7-10 positions.
How Does the Play-In Tournament Work?
In the past, the seven and eight seeds were automatically NBA playoff teams and would play the one and two seeds in the first round. This year, to earn these spots, teams have to get through a small play-in tournament.
Here are the games and how they work:
• Game 1 -played between the seven and eight teams and hosted by the seven seed. The winner becomes the seven seed and the loser has one more opportunity to become the eight seed.
• Game 2 –played between the nine and ten teams and hosted by the nine seed. The winner moves on to game three and the loser is eliminated from playoff contention.
• Game 3 –The loser of the seven vs. eight hosts the winner of the nine vs. ten for a chance to be the eight seed. The winner becomes the eight seed.
What Does this Tournament Mean for the Playoffs
With a three-game mini-tournament to determine the seven and eight seeds for the NBA playoffs, Any of these four teams could be left out and any of them could move on. The seven seed will only have to play one of these games while the team that makes it through to the eighth spot will win two games to get there and be a team that is the bottom seed in the playoffs.
Which Teams Are Part of the Play-In Tournament?
For the Eastern Conference, the teams involved are the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, and Boston Celtics. Looking to the Western Conference, the teams are the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers. Most of these teams didn’t have playoff hopes throughout the season, but a couple of them could be poised to play spoiler to other teams.
Interesting Names in the Play-In Tournament
Whether you consider these eight teams to be NBA Playoff Teams or not, is not important at this juncture. What’s interesting about these teams is the fact that the Lakers and Celtics are part of the mix. The Lakers are defending champions and have been mired by injuries all year which has caused them to fall to the seventh spot. The Celtics have a young and tough team but also have faced injuries that have them in this lower tournament.
Which Teams Will We See Come Out of this Three-Game Tourney?
Will the Charlotte Hornets, a current ten seed make it to the eighth spot or will they be sent home after the first game? Will the Lakers make it out of this mini-tournament and head to the playoffs to make a deep run or will this become a nagging problem for the Lakers? With four teams fighting for two spots, it seems there might be a few surprises coming our way as we get ready for the playoffs.
How Will These Lower Teams Fare in the NBA Playoffs
Once the play-in tournament is over and we have the official seven and eight seeds for each side, how will these teams do in the playoffs? Will they be too tired to handle seven games against a rested one or two see or will they bring a strong game and momentum against the top teams in the league? The NBA playoff teams are nearly set and we can get ready for some great action on the hardwood.
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