NBA Play-In Tournament: Everything You Need to Know

NBA Play-In Tournament

  • The NBA Play-In Tournament is back for its second full event
  • The NBA Play-In Tournament will occur from April 12-15
  • The NBA Playoffs will begin on April 16

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When the NBA regular season concludes, the NBA Playoffs no longer begin immediately. Beginning in 2020, the NBA implemented play-in games used to determine the final participants in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Rather than the top eight teams automatically qualifying for the NBA Playoffs, the 7th through 10th seeds compete for the final two spots in each conference.

There has been criticism of the NBA Play-In Tournament, particularly by stars like LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, as well as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Despite their grievances, the last two Play-In tournaments have provided NBA fans with some of the year’s most exciting games.

Let’s break down everything you need to know about the NBA Play-In Tournament and how it will work!

Which Teams Are Playing in the NBA Play-In Tournament?

Here’s a preview of the teams who are expected to compete in this year’s NBA Play-In. The regular season will end on April 10th and the participating teams are subject to change.

Follow WSN.com to get the most up-to-date news on the 2022 NBA Play-In!

Eastern Conference

  • #10 Brooklyn Nets vs. #9 Charlotte Hornets
  • #8 Atlanta Hawks vs. #7 Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference

  • #10 San Antonio Spurs vs. #9 New Orleans Pelicans
  • #8 LA Clippers vs. #7 Minnesota Timberwolves

When is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament will occur between April 12th and April 15th.

How Does the Play-In Tournament Work?


The NBA Play-In Tournament showcases 6 total games and involves 8 teams, 4 from each of the NBA’s conferences.

The top 6 seeds in each conference qualify for guaranteed playoff positions, while the teams that finish 7th through 10th participate in the Play-In. The teams that finish with the 7th and 8th highest winning percentage during the regular season will have two opportunities to qualify for the NBA Playoffs.

Let’s take a look at how the games will work:

  • Game 1
    • The 7th seed will host the 8th seed. The winner of Game 1 will earn the 7th seed in their respective conferences playoff bracket. The losing team will compete in Game 3
  • Game 2
    • The 9th seed will host the 10th seed. The winner of Game 2 will move on to compete in Game 3. The loser of Game 2 will be eliminated for the Play-In Tournament and from playoff contention
  • Game 3
    • The loser of Game 1 will host the loser of Game 2. The winner of Game 3 will be awarded the 8th seed in their respective conferences playoff bracket.

Past NBA Play-In Tournament Results

Year Conference Teams Record Games Played Result
2021 East Boston Celtics 36-36 (.500) Game 1 (def. WAS) 7th Seed in East Playoffs
East Washington Wizards 34-38 (.472) Game 1 (lost BOS)

Game 3 (def. IND)

8th Seed in East Playoffs
East Indiana Pacers 34-38 (.472) Game 2 (def. CHO)

Game 3 (lost WAS)

Eliminated
East Charlotte Hornets 33-39 (.458) Game 2 (lost IND) Eliminated
West Los Angeles Lakers 42-30 (.583) Game 1 (def. GSW) 7th Seed in West Playoffs
West Memphis Grizzlies 38-34 (.528) Game 2 (def. SAS)

Game 3 (def. GSW)

8th Seed in West Playoffs
West Golden State Warriors 39-33 (.542) Game 1 (lost LAL)

Game 2 (lost MEM)

Eliminated
West San Antonio Spurs 33-39 (.458) Game 2 (lost MEM) Eliminated
2020 West Portland Trail Blazers 35-39 (.473) Game 1 (def. MEM) 8th Seed in West Playoffs
West Memphis Grizzlies 34-39 (.466) Game 1 (lost POR) Eliminated

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Christian Jope

Expert on NBA

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

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