For the first time ever, there will be an NBA play-in tournament for four playoffs spots.
Beginning on Tuesday evening, the NBA play-in tournament will officially be underway.
While there is some controversy about having four teams in each conference duking it out for the last two playoff spots, there is a great deal of excitement surrounding this tournament among NBA fans. At the very least, the lead-up to it has allowed roughly five-sixths of the league to be engaged for a shot at a playoff spot. Before the games tip off, here is what you need to know.
The play-in tournament may seem a little wonky at first, but you will get the hang of it quickly.
What you need to know about the NBA play-in tournament
The eight teams who finished in seventh to 10th place in their respective conferences will compete in the play-in tournament. The seventh-place team will host the eighth-place team with the winner emerging as the No. 7 seed in their conference’s playoffs where they will have to face the No. 2 seed. This is simply a win-and-get-in scenario for the seventh and eighth-place teams.
Whoever loses the No. 7 vs. No. 8 games will host the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 elimination game. This win-or-go-home game will decide who will be the No. 8 seed and who will have to play the top-seeded team in their respective conference.
These six play-in tournament games begin on Tuesday, May 18 and will finish on Friday, May 21. Here are the initial matchups and the upcoming schedule for the play-in tournament.
• No. 8 Washington Wizards at No. 7 Boston Celtics (9:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 18, TNT)
• No. 10 Charlotte Hornets at No. 9 Indiana Pacers (6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 18, TNT)
• 9/10 winner vs. 7/8 loser (8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 20, TNT)
• No. 8 Golden State Warriors at No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers (10:00 p.m. ET on May 19, ESPN)
• No. 10 San Antonio Spurs at No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies (7:30 p.m. ET on May 19, ESPN)
• 9/10 winner vs. 7/8 loser (TBD on Friday, May 21, ESPN)
While the play-in tournament could go chalk, here is to these six games being very exciting.