The time has come! While we are consistently reminded how this play-in tournament works and players like LeBron James not in favor of this tournament we’ve arrived still. The 2021 NBA Play-in tournament preview is here to guide you through the roller coaster of excitement before the true 2021 NBA Playoffs get started on May 22nd, 2021.
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament schedule
Tuesday, May 18, 2021:
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Wizards clinch 8th seed in Eastern Conference
Friday, May 21, 2021
Grizzlies clinch 8th seed in Western Conference
How did they get here?
Each team in this tournament will have finished between the 7th through 10th seed in their respective conferences. For the second year in a row, the NBA decides on a Play-in Tournament. Last year the tournament featured only the respective 8th and 9th seed team IF the 8th seed couldn’t clinch the seed by 5 games or more.
As a reminder, only in the Western Conference did this happen where the Portland Trailblazers played the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Orlando Campus before the 2020 Playoffs actually started. The Blazers won the single-game required and secured the 8th seed. Portland went on to play the 1st seed Los Angeles Lakers.
Furthermore, this year’s tournament is with a twist. Regardless of how many games the 7th and 8th seed lead above the 9th and 10th seed they will have to win out over the course of May 18-May 21 to secure the 7th or 8th seed in their respective conference.
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament break down
The scheduled set-up is best explained below but here are the basics!
- The 7th and 8th seed in each conference will play first. The LOSER of that game will go on to play the WINNER of the 9th/10th seed game in their conference.
- The WINNER of the 7th and 8th seed game will secure the 7th seed in their respective conference
- The WINNER of the 9th/10th seed winner vs 7th/8th seed loser game will secure the 8th seed in their respective conference
- The higher seeded teams will be the home team and the lower seed will be the away team