NBA Play-In Tournament: How it works and how to watch

Apr 11, 2023, 11:32 AM

karl anthony towns, lebron james, nba play-in tournament...

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns works toward the basket while defended by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) and forward Wenyen Gabriel (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 31, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Before the NBA playoffs can begin, several teams will have to survive the play-in tournament.

From Tuesday to Friday, eight teams — the 7-10th seeds in each of the Eastern and Western Conferences — will vie for spots in the playoffs.

How does the NBA Play-in Tournament work?

The first games of the tournament will see the seventh and eighth-seeded teams in each respective conference face off. The winner automatically goes into the playoffs. The Eastern Conference winner will face off against the second-seeded Boston Celtics while the Western Conference winner will face off against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The losers of those 7-8 matchups still have a chance to make the playoffs, facing off against the winner of the ninth and 10th seed battle. The winner of this matchup will be the eighth seed in the playoffs, facing off against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the East or the Denver Nuggets in the West.

Which teams are playing in the tournament?

Eastern Conference:

  • Miami Heat (No. 7 seed)
  • Atlanta Hawks (No. 8 seed)
  • Toronto Raptors (No. 9 seed)
  • Chicago Bulls (No. 10 seed)

Western Conference:

  • Los Angeles Lakers (No. 7 seed)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 8 seed)
  • New Orleans Pelicans (No. 9 seed)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 10 seed)

What is the tournament schedule and how can you watch?

Game 1 — Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat | 4:30 p.m. MST on TNT
Game 2 — Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers | 7 p.m. MST on  TNT

Game 3 — Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors | 4 p.m. MST on ESPN
Game 4 — Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans | 6:30 p.m. MST on ESPN

Game 5 — Winner of Game 3 at loser of Game 1 on TNT
Game 6 — Winner of Game 4 at loser of Game 2 on ESPN

Times for games five and six on Friday will be announced Wednesday after the conclusion of game four.

This story was originally published by

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