The NBA debuted its play-in tournament in full force in 2021 with seeds No. 7 through No. 10 competing for the final two spots playoff spots in each conference. Despite the public objections of LeBron James, the play-in tournament felt like a rousing success that ended with the Golden State Warriors surprisingly missing the postseason by losing consecutive games despite finishing with the No. 8 seed in the regular season.
The play-in tournament is back again in 2022, running April 12-15. Once again, it’s shaping up to be a star-studded field that includes All-Stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Trae Young, Paul George, LaMelo Ball, and potentially a few more. With huge stakes and a slim margin for error, the play-in tournament promises to be a thrilling appetizer to the NBA playoffs once again.
Here’s what you need to know about the play-in tournament, including key dates, updated standings, and an explanation of how it all works.
How the NBA play-in tournament works
Here’s a graphic explaining the play-in tournament, via NBA.com:
In the old days, the No. 7 and No. 8 seed in each conference would automatically make the playoffs. Not anymore. Now the final two spots in both the East and West are determined by who wins in the play-in tournament.
Here’s how it works: the No. 7 seed and No. 8 seed at the end of the regular season play each other in each conference, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs and a matchup with the conference’s No. 2. The No. 9 seed and the No. 10 seed also face-off. The winner of the 9-10 game advances to face the loser of the 7-8, while the loser of the 9-10 game is eliminated from the postseason.
The losing team from the 7-8 matchup and the winning team of the 9-10 matchup then play one game to determine who gets the No. 8 seed for the final playoff spot in each conference.
2022 NBA play-in tournament updated standings
Updated morning of April 9, 2022
7. Brooklyn Nets | 44-38
8. Cleveland Cavaliers | 44-38
9. Atlanta Hawks | 42-39
10. Charlotte Hornets | 42-39
Everyone else is eliminated.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves | 46-36
8. Los Angeles Clippers | 42-40
9. New Orleans Pelicans | 36-46
10. San Antonio Spurs | 34-48
When the does the NBA play-in tournament start in 2022?
When do the 2022 NBA playoffs start?
What would the NBA play-in tournament matchups be right now?
East: No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 7 Brooklyn Nets
East: No. 10 Charlotte Hornets at No. 9 Atlanta Hawks
West: No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers at No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves
West: No. 10 San Antonio Spurs at No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans
We’ll update this post every day until the play-in tournament field is set.