NBA In-Season Tournament standings: How do the Suns advance to make bracket?
Nov 22, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: Nov 25, 2023, 12:35 pm
The Phoenix Suns are done with group play in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament and at 3-1 must qualify for the elimination round by making it as a wild card team.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ win against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night secured the former team’s qualification for the eight-team tournament bracket via winning Group A over second-place Phoenix.
One wild card team per conference makes the bracket, and point differential is the key tiebreaker between teams from different groups.
Phoenix’s point differential through four games is plus-34 after a 110-89 win on Friday afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies in its final group play game.
There’s much to play out, but the Suns are in pole position after defeating Memphis by as much as they did, especially with the New Orleans Pelicans finishing 3-1 at plus-33. Only one Group B team can advance and it will either be New Orleans or the Houston Rockets.
That leaves Phoenix’s only threat in Group C, where three teams are still alive but it would take an extreme blowout or two to knock the Suns out:
Warriors win. Group C scenarios on Tuesday for MIN vs. OKC and GSW vs. SAC to result in Suns’ elimination.
— Wolves win, Warriors lose. MIN must beat OKC by at least 38.
— Wolves win, Warriors win. MIN must beat OKC by at least 38 AND GSW must beat SAC by at least 30.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) November 25, 2023
Here’s a look at the standings and a rundown of the format.
NBA In-Season Tournament standings for the Suns (through Nov. 24 games)
How does the NBA In-Season Tournament work? Rules and format
The 30 NBA teams are broken into six groups randomly selected but kept within the conference. They play four games from Nov. 3-28 against every other team in their group.
Winners of the group get an automatic berth to make up six teams of the eight-team tournament bracket. The other two are wild cards.
That means there will be three automatic berths for West clubs and just one wild card. Phoenix must get that one wild card slot.
From there, the tournament bracket is single elimination with the quarterfinals (Dec. 4-5) played in team markets before the semifinal (Dec. 7) and championship (Dec. 9) games take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Seeding tiebreakers for both group play and wild cards are as follows:
What are the NBA In-Season Tournament tiebreakers?
• Head-to-head record in the Group Stage
• Point differential in the Group Stage
• Total points scored in the Group Stage
• Regular season record from the 2022-23 NBA regular season
• Random drawing (in the unlikely scenario that two or more teams are still tied following the previous tiebreakers)
What if the Suns don’t make the bracket round of the NBA In-Season tournament or get knocked out early?
If the Suns don’t make the eight-team bracket, they will play on Dec. 6 and Dec. 8, off-days for tournament play. All but two of 22 games league-wide will be intra-conference games determined by group play seeding and travel restrictions.
Quarterfinal losers will play Dec. 8 against a quarterfinal loser from their same conference.