The NBA’s 2021-22 regular season ends on April 10th, and squads towards the bottom of the standings are vying for playoff seeding, with a specific focus on the league’s play-in tournament.
The play-in competition, which takes place before the first round of the NBA playoffs in 2022, adds an exciting twist as the regular season ends. Because of the flattened lottery chances that were implemented in 2019, teams were already less motivated to dump games late in the season. More clubs will stay in the mix for longer now that the top 10 teams in the rankings will complete the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs.
When Do NBA Playoffs Take Place?
From April 12th to 15th, the Play-In Tournament will take place over four days. The first round begins on April 16th and is expected to go through the first weekend in May. Although there will never be changes to the NBA Finals or the first round, the start dates for the second round and Conference Finals will be determined by how long the previous round’s series lasts.
What is the NBA Playoff Bracket?
The NBA will have a Play-In Tournament for the 7-10 seeds for every conference for the third consecutive season before beginning the conventional 16-team playoff format.
After the Play-In Tournament, we have a regular playoff bracket consisting of eight teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences participating in four rounds of seven-game series in the postseason. 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5 are the first-round opponents. If there are upsets, the NBA does not re-seed; the bracket is determined.
How do the Play-in Tournaments Function?
Eight teams compete in a total of six games that will be divided amongst the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Those that finish between first and sixth in each conference are guaranteed postseason positions, and the teams that finish 7-10 will be expected to compete in a play-in game. Any club that finishes lower than 10th seed will be ineligible for the playoffs but will be put into the lottery.
In Game One, the team that is No. 7 in the standings will play the team that is the No. 8, with the winner receiving the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. In Game 3, the losing team gets a second opportunity.
In Game Two, the No. 9 team will face the No. 10 team in Game 3, with the winner advancing to the next round. The loser is ousted from the competition and is entered into the NBA draft lottery.
In Game Three, the loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 showdown will face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game in the postseason, with the victor taking the No. 8 seed. Game 3’s loser is also entered in the lottery.
This implies that the teams with the seventh and eighth highest overall scores will have two chances to win one game in order to qualify for the playoffs, while the teams with the ninth and tenth greatest winning percentages will need to win two games in a row to advance.
What Happens Next?
When the play-in winners who are seeded at No. 7 and No. 8 advance, the NBA playoffs will kick off on April 16, 2022. The first game of the NBA Finals is diarized for June 2.
Matchups for 2022 NBA Playoffs As It Stands
This is dependent on whether the regular season would end this week.
In the Eastern Conference it would be; Seed 1 (Heat) versus Seed 8 (the Play-in winner), Seed 2 (Bucks) versus Seed 7(Play-in winner), Seed 3(76ers) versus Seed 6 (Cavaliers) and Seed 4 (Celtics) versus Seed 5 (Bulls).
In the Western Conference it would be; Seed 1(Suns) vs. Seed 8 (Play-in winner), Seed 2 (Grizzlies) vs. Seed 7 (Play-in winner), Seed 3 (Warriors) vs. Seed 6 (Nuggets) and Seed 4 (Jazz) vs. Seed 5 (Mavericks).
To follow these games, their odds and what bets are available for the 2022 NBA season, make sure you check out online sportsbooks that are licensed, regulated and legal in your state.