For the second straight year, the NBA will feature a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots in each conference.
The format remains the same as last year, as the 7-seed and 8-seed teams will play on Tuesday, April 12, with the winner earning the 7-seed and a first round series with the 2-seed in their conference and the loser moving on to a second play-in game on Friday. The 9-seed and 10-seed will meet on Wednesday, April 13, with the loser being eliminated and the winner playing again on Friday, April 15, against the loser of the 7/8 matchup.
The Western Conference play-in seeds were set prior to Sunday’s final day of the regular season, with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 7-seed, Los Angeles Clippers in the 8-seed, New Orleans Pelicans in the 9-seed, and San Antonio Spurs in the 10-seed. However the East play-in field remained a mystery, as the Cavs, Nets, Hawks, and Hornets were all in action with the chance to maneuver up and down the standings.
It became clear early on that Cleveland was headed to a win against the shorthanded Bucks, while the Nets nearly blew a big lead against the Pacers but ultimately held on to win, meaning Brooklyn would host the Cavs in the first play in game on Tuesday. Atlanta rolled past the Rockets, while Charlotte came back from a first half deficit to beat the Wizards, meaning the Hawks took the 9-seed and will host their win-or-go-home matchup.
The two 7-seeds both being in central time means the start times for the games on Tuesday and Wednesday will be earlier, while the times for Friday’s games are TBD, depending on whether the Clippers are hosting the late game or not.
Here is the full TV schedule for the play-in tournament:
Tuesday, April 12
Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets, 7:00 p.m. ET (TNT)
Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Wednesday, April 13
Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Friday, April 15
Winner Of CHA/ATL at Loser Of CLE/BKN, TBD (ESPN)
Winner Of SAS/NOP at Loser Of LAC/MIN, TBD (ESPN)