Apr 11, 2024 - News

How to fake it: NBA Play-In Tournament

A basketball player about to dunk on the hoop, in front of a court

Obi Toppin's on a scoring streak that could carry the Pacers straight to the playoffs. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

The end of the NBA's regular season is rapidly approaching as teams are jockeying for final seeding heading into the playoffs.

Yes, but: Before playoffs tip off on April 20, eight teams will have to survive the Play-In tournament for a shot at postseason glory.

State of play: The Indiana Pacers are currently the 6th seed and could avoid the play-in by winning either of their last two games.

How it works: Teams in the Eastern and Western conferences are seeded No. 1-10. The six teams with the best record in each conference are guaranteed a playoff spot.

  • Teams seeded No. 7-10 have to play their way in, hence the tournament's name.

Zoom in: The No. 7 and 8 seeds will play each other, with the winner of that matchup getting the seventh spot in their respective conference. The losing team gets one more chance.

  • The No. 9 and 10 seeds will play each other. The losing team will see its season come to an end and the winner will face the loser of the No. 7 versus No. 8 game.
  • Whichever team wins that final matchup will get the eighth and final spot in their conference playoffs.

How to watch: The play-in games are April 16-19 and the playoffs start April 20.

What's next: The Pacers play the Cavaliers at 7:30pm Friday in Cleveland on Bally Sports.

  • Their final regular season home game is 1pm Sunday, against Atlanta.
  • They could lose both and hang onto their playoff berth, but it will depend on how other bubble teams perform in the final days of the season.

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