NBA play-in tracker: Where the races stand entering Wednesdayon April 6, 2022 at 5:48 am

As the NBA’s 2021-22 regular season draws to a conclusion on April 10, teams near the middle of the standings are battling for postseason seeding with a special focus on the league’s play-in tournament.

Held before the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, the play-in tournament adds an exciting wrinkle to the end of the regular season. Teams were already less incentivized to tank games down the stretch because of the flattened lottery odds instituted in 2019. Now that the top 10 teams in the standings will finish the regular season with at least a chance to make the playoffs, more franchises will stay in the mix for longer.

The play-in tournament will be held April 12-15.

Here’s everything you need to know about the setup this season.

MORE: Current NBA standings

How the play-in race is shaping up

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Entering Wednesday, here’s how the play-in standings look in the East:

7. Cleveland Cavaliers: 43-37, 1 1/2 games ahead of eighth
8. Brooklyn Nets, 41-38, 1 1/2 games back
9. Atlanta Hawks, 41-38, 1 1/2 GB
10. Charlotte Hornets: 40-39, 2 1/2 GB

The four play-in teams in the East are set. All that is left to be determined is the seeding. The Nets are currently listed as the 8-seed over the Hawks because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here’s how the play-in games would look if the season ended today:

No. 8 Nets at No. 7 Cavaliers

No. 10 Hornets at No. 9 Hawks

Here are Wednesday games with the potential to impact the play-in standings in the East:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Entering Wednesday, here’s how the play-in standings look in the West:

6. Denver Nuggets: 47-33, 2 games ahead of seventh

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: 45-35, 2 games back of sixth
8. LA Clippers: 39-40 (clinched 8-seed)
9. New Orleans Pelicans: 35-44, 1 game ahead of 10th
10. San Antonio Spurs: 34-45, 1 GB

The next Nuggets win or Timberwolves loss will lock Minnesota into the 7-seed entering the play-in tournament. The Pelicans have clinched a spot in the play-in. The next Spurs win or Lakers loss will eliminate the Lakers from play-in contention.

Here’s how the play-in games would look if the season ended today:

No. 8 Clippers at No. 7 Timberwolves

No. 10 Spurs at No. 9 Pelicans

There are no games Wednesday with the potential to impact the play-in standings in the West.

MORE: Full NBA schedule

How does the NBA play-in tournament work?

There will be six total games involving eight teams as part of the play-in tournament, split up between the two conferences.

2 Related

The teams that finish Nos. 1-6 in each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots, while team Nos. 7-10 in the standings will enter the play-in. Any team that finishes worse than No. 10 will be in the lottery.

Here’s how the games will work:

Game 1: The No. 7 team in the standings by winning percentage will host the No. 8 team, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The losing team gets another chance in Game 3.

Game 2: The No. 9 team will host the No. 10 team, with the winner moving on to Game 3. The loser is eliminated and enters the NBA draft lottery.

Game 3: The loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup will host the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup, with the victor grabbing the No. 8 seed in the postseason. The loser of Game 3 also enters the lottery.

This means that the teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages will have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot, while the teams with the ninth-highest and 10th-highest winning percentages need to win two straight games to advance.

What’s next after the play-in?

Once the play-in winners, seeded No. 7 and No. 8 from each conference advance, the 2022 NBA playoffs will begin on April 16. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is June 2.

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