Tonight, the NBA will begin a new event with its inaugural “in-season tournament


By Rocking’ Reese

The NBA In-season tournament games (with the exception of the tournament finals) will count as part of the regular season records for all 30 teams. Here is how the tournament will work.

All 15 teams in the eastern conference were placed into 5 separate “pots”, based on their regular season record from last season. The same was done with all 15 teams in the western conference. Pot 1 was for the 3 teams with the best records in the conference. Pot 2 was for teams with the 4th through 6th best records. Pot 3 was for teams with the 7th through 9th best records. Pot 4 was for teams with the 10th through 12th best records. Pot 5 was for the 3 teams with the worst records in the conference. One team from each “pot” was assigned to each group.

In the eastern conference, Group A will feature the Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons. Group B will feature the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, & Charlotte Hornets. Group C will feature the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, & Orlando Magic.

In the western conference, Group A will feature the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, & Portland Trail Blazers. Group B will feature the (defending NBA Champion) Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, & Houston Rockets. Group C will feature the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, & San Antonio Spurs.

In each group, a team will play against the other 4 teams in their respective group in a round-robin format. Each team will have 2 home games & 2 road games. Group stage games will be played on Tuesdays & Fridays, throughout November (with the exception of Nov. 7th, because that is Election Day). On non-tournament days, the NBA will still have regularly scheduled games.

The schedule will for group stage games will be as follows: Nov. 3rd (Cavaliers @Pacers at 7:00; Knicks @ Bucks at 7:30 on ESPN; Wizards @ Heat at 8:00; Nets @ Bulls at 8:00; Warriors @ Thunder at 8:00; Mavericks @ Nuggets at 10:00 on ESPN; Grizzlies @ Trail Blazers at 10:00)

Nov. 10th (76ers @ Pistons at 7:00; Hornets @ Wizards at 7:00; Nets @ Celtics at 7:30 on ESPN; Pelicans @ Rockets at 8:00; Jazz @ Grizzlies at 8:00; Timberwolves @ Spurs at 8:00; Clippers @ Mavericks at 8:30;  Lakers @ Suns at 10:00 on ESPN; Thunder @ Kings at 10:00)

Nov. 14th (Heat @ Hornets at 7:00; Hawks @ Pistons at 7:00; Pacers @ 76ers at 7:00; Magic @ Nets at 7:30; Spurs @ Thunder at 7:30 on TNT; Mavericks @ Pelicans at 8:00; Trail Blazers @ Jazz at 9:00; Clippers @ Nuggets at 10:00 on TNT; Timberwolves @ Warriors at 10:00; Grizzlies @ Lakers at 10:30)

Nov. 17th (Bucks @ hornets at 7:00; Knicks @ Wizards at 7:00; 76ers @ Hawks at 7:30; Pistons @ Cavaliers at 7:30; Celtics @ Raptors at 7:30; Kings @ Spurs at 7:30 on ESPN; Magic @ Bulls at 8:00; Nuggets @ Pelicans; Suns @ Jazz at 10:00 on ESPN; Lakers @ Trail Blazers at 10:00; Rockets @ Clippers at 10:30)

Nov. 21st (Raptors @ Magic at 7:00; Pacers @ Hawks at 7:30; Cavaliers @ 76ers at 7:30 on TNT; Trail Blazers @ Suns at 9:00; Jazz @ Lakers at 10:00 on TNT)

Nov. 24th (Celtics @ Magic at 2:30 & Suns @ Grizzlies at 5:00 on NBA TV; Heat @ Knicks at 7:30 on ESPN; Bulls @ Raptors at 7:30; Pistons @ Pacers at 8:00; Nuggets @ Rockets at 8:00; Wizards @ Bucks at 8:00; Kings @ Timberwolves at 8:00; Spurs @ Warriors at 10:00 on ESPN; Pelicans @ Clippers at 10:30)

Nov. 28th (Bulls @ Celtics at 7:30; Raptors @ Nets at 7:30; Hawks @ Cavaliers at 7:30; Bucks @ Heat at 7:30 on TNT;  Hornets @ Knicks at 7:30; Thunder @ Timberwolves at 8:00; Rockets @ Mavericks at 8:30; Warriors @ Kings at 10:00 on TNT)

After group play has completed on November 28th, the tie-breakers used to determine a group winner will be in the following order:
1. Head-to-head record in group stage
2. Point differential in group stage
3. Total points scored in the group stage
4. Regular season record from the 2022-23 regular season
5. Random drawing (If teams are still tied, after previous tiebreakers)
When it comes to determing seeds among group winners or which team in each conference will earn the wild card, the tie-breaking protocol will start with “Point differential in group stage”.  

Based on records, the winner from each group & 1 wild card team from each conference will advance to the knockout stage. All teams who advance to the knockout stage will be awarded some prize money.

The further a team advances in the tournament, the more money the team will earn. For the teams who do not advance to the knockout stage, they will compete on December 6th & 8th. Those games will be scheduled, after group stage play has concluded.

The knockout stage will be a single-elimination tournament. The 4 east teams will compete against each other in one half of a bracket, while the 4 west teams will compete against each other in the other half of the bracket. In each bracket, the highest-seeded group winner will play the wild card in a quarter-final game, while the other 2 group winners will play each other in another quarter-final game.

Each game in the quarter-finals will be held at the higher seed’s home court on December 4th or 5th.  The 2 east quarter-finals losers will play against each other & the 2 west quarter-finals losers will play against each other in regular season games on December 8th. 

The semi-finals & finals will be at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both semi-finals games will be on December 7th and the finals (which will feature the winner of the east bracket against the winner of the west bracket) will be on December 9th.

The team who wins the tournament will win a special amount of money, as well as the NBA Cup. A tournament MVP and a NBA all-tournament team will be determined on overall play of each player in the tournament. That’s anything & everything you need to know about this tournament. Let the games begin!

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