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The NBA’s play-in tournament to get to the next round of the playoffs will feature some serious firepower, including the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
The play-in tournament features teams from each conference who finished the regular season from seventh to 10th place. The tournament will have three games played in each conference – a total of six games.
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The No. 9 team in each conference will play the No. 10 team. The team that wins the 9-10 game will stay in contention to earn the eighth seed in the conference and the losing team will be eliminated from contention. The No. 7 and 8 teams will also compete with the winner getting the No. 7 seed and the losing team getting a chance to play the winner of the 9-10 game for a chance to earn the No. 8 seed.
The final game will be played to determine which team gets the No. 8 seed in the conference.
The regular playoffs will continue after that.
FLASHBACK: LEBRON JAMES RIPS PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT IDEA HE TOUTED IN 2020
The idea for the play-in tournament was approved in November but came under scrutiny during the season. LeBron James was among the loudest to scrutinize the idea after a 72-game regular season. He said whoever came up with the idea needed “to be fired.”
Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks had his team finish in eighth place jokingly agreed with James after the team squeaked into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The team was looking at a possible 10th-place finish but finished 17-9 in the final two months of the season.
Among the other superstars in the tournament are Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
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Here’s the schedule for the play-in tournament. All times are Eastern.
TUESDAY, May 18, 2021
Game 1: Indiana Pacers vs. Charlotte Hornets (6:30 pm; TNT)
Game 2: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards (9 pm; TNT)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 2021
Game 3: Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs (7:30 pm; ESPN)
Game 4: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors (10 pm; ESPN)
THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2021
Game 2 loser vs. Game 1 winner (8 pm; TNT)
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FRIDAY, MAY 21, 20221
Game 4 loser vs. Game 3 winner (TBD; ESPN)