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2024 NBA Play-In Tournament Schedule

The NBA’s regular-season schedule came to an end on Sunday and that means it’s time for the playoffs – starting with the league’s play-in tournament. For the fourth year in a row the NBA will use a play-in tournament to decide the No. 7 and the No. 8 seeds in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference field – click here for a rundown on how the play-in tournament works.

Eastern Conference Playoff Field

The Boston Celtics finished the regular season with a league-best record of 64-18, putting them atop the Eastern Conference standings by a whopping 14 games. That has the Celtics as the No. 1 seed for the Eastern half of the NBA’s playoff field. Boston is followed by the New York Knicks as the No. 2 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 3, the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4, the Orlando Magic at No. 5, and the Indiana Pacers at No. 6. All six of those teams will now avoid the play-in tournament.

The Philadelphia 76ers ended up in a tie with the Magic and the Pacers with a 47-35 record, but tiebreakers pushed them to seventh place in the Eastern standings and they’ll be the top seed for their conference’s play-in tournament. The Miami Heat ended the regular season in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, with the Chicago Bulls in ninth place, and the Atlanta Hawks in 10th place.

East Play-In Starts On Wednesday

So those four teams will now hit the hardwood on Wednesday night (April 17) to start the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. The Sixers will host the Heat in the early game, with the winner of that contest claiming the East’s No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The Bulls will then host the Hawks in the late game, with the loser of that contest eliminated from the postseason and the winner battling the Sixers/Heat loser on Friday night (April 19) to determine the East’s No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

The No. 7 seed will meet the Knicks in a seven-game series in the first round of the Eastern playoffs, and the No. 8 seed will take on the Celtics. The two matchups that have already been set in the first round on the Eastern side of the bracket are the Bucks vs. the Pacers and the Cavaliers vs. the Magic.

Western Conference Playoff Field

Over in the Western Conference it was a much tighter race at the top, with the Oklahoma City Thunder grabbing the No. 1 seed in a tiebreaker over the Denver Nuggets – both teams ended up with a 57-25 record. The Minnesota Timberwolves finished a game behind at 56-26 and will be the No. 3 seed, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 4, the Dallas Mavericks at No. 5, and the Phoenix Suns at No. 6. Like their top Eastern Conference counterparts, those teams avoid the play-in event this week.

The New Orleans Pelicans lost the tiebreaker with the Suns and finished in seventh place in the Western standings, meaning they’ll be the top seed in their play-in tournament. The Los Angeles Lakers ended up eighth, the Sacramento Kings were ninth, and the Golden State Warriors were 10th.

West Play-In Will Begin On Tuesday

That means the Pelicans will host LeBron James and the Lakers on Tuesday night (April 16) to get the Western Conference play-in tournament underway, with the winner of that matchup claiming the West’s No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Later that night the Kings will host the Warriors, with the loser eliminated from the postseason and the winner facing the Lakers/Pelicans loser on Friday night (April 19). The winner of that game on Friday night is then the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference field.

And that No. 8 seed will take on the Thunder in a seven-game series in the first round of the Western Conference half of the playoff bracket, while the No. 7 seed battles the Nuggets. The Timberwolves will take on the Suns in their first-round series, with the Clippers and the Mavericks meeting in the other series.

First-Round Series Set For Weekend

So we already know the matchups for four of the first-round NBA playoff series, and we also know when those four series will get underway. On Saturday (April 20) it’ll be Game 1 between the Magic and the Cavaliers in Cleveland, and between the Suns and the Timberwolves in Minnesota. On Sunday (April 21) it’ll be Game 1 between the Pacers and the Bucks in Milwaukee, and between the Mavericks and the Clippers in Los Angeles. The NBA Finals will conclude the league’s postseason in June.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.