2021-22 NBA play-in tournament
By winning Game 1, the Nets advance as the East's 7-seed and face the Boston Celtics in the first round. By winning Game 3, the Hawks advance as the East's 8-seed and face the Miami Heat in the first round.
By winning Game 1, the Timberwolves advance as the West's 7-seed and face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. By winning Game 3, the Pelicans advance as the West's 8-seed and face the Phoenix Suns in the first round.
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.
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 Saturday. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is June 2.