After a grueling 82 games, the 2021-2022 NBA regular season has finally reached its conclusion and 8 teams, four from each conference, are looking to compete in the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament to secure one of the final four postseason spots.
Established in 2020, the NBA Play-In Tournament has become polarizing among NBA fans because teams with a record well below .500 have a shot at making the postseason. Originally, during the shortened 2019-2020 season, the play-in was between the 8 and 9 seeds. To qualify, the teams had to be within four games of each other, and if the 8 seed won then they would advance to the postseason; however, if the 9 seed won, they’d play a second game where the winner would advance.
The format changed to its current format during the 2020-2021 season. Under the new format, tournament qualification was expanded to include seeds 7-10. Seeds 9 and 10 play in a single-elimination game where the loser goes home. Seeds 7 and 8 face-off and the winner gets the 7 seed and the loser plays the winner of the 9/10 game for the 8 seed.
Cord cutters can find out how to watch all of the fastbreaks and slam dunks during the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament below.
2022 NBA Play-In Tournament Schedule
Tuesday, April 12 – Results
- Game 1: (8) Cleveland Cavaliers 108 vs. (7) Brooklyn Nets 115 (7 PM ET, TNT)
- Game 2: (8) LA Clippers 104 vs. (7) Minnesota Timberwolves 109 (9:30 PM ET, TNT)
Winners of Tuesday’s games will advance to the NBA playoffs as 7 seeds. The Eastern Conference will start the tournament off when two 44-38 teams take the floor. The Nets will welcome the Cavaliers to the Barclays Center for the third time this season where the Nets lead 2-0. These two clubs played as recently as April 8 in Brooklyn, and the Nets beat the injury-riddled Cavs 118-107. Before joining Brooklyn, Kevin Durant’s career record against the Cavs was 11-12, but the former NBA MVP has gone 4-1 since joining the Nets.
The Western Conference will close out the night when the 42-40 Clippers travel to the Target Center to take on the 46-36 Timberwolves. The T-Wolves haven’t made the playoffs since the 2018 postseason, and this year is the second time the club has had a winning record since 2005. Second-year guard Anthony Edwards looks to lead the pack against a Clippers team that has beaten Minnesota 3 out of 4 games this season. The Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard for the play-in; however, Paul George will be making his return which will give the team a veteran presence on the court.
Wednesday, April 13
- Game 3: (10) Charlotte Hornets 103 at (9) Atlanta Hawks 132 (7 PM ET, ESPN)
- Game 4: (10) San Antonio Spurs 103 at (9) New Orleans Pelicans 113 (9:30 PM ET, ESPN)
The losers of both of tonight’s games will be going home and the winners will play Tuesday’s losers on Friday. The Southeast Division will be front and center during the early game on ESPN. Two of the best young point guards in the NBA will take the floor when LaMelo Ball and the 43-39 Hornets travel down I-85 South to take on Trae Young and the 43-39 Hawks. The teams tied their season series 2-2 with each team winning a game on the road and at home. The Hornets will be without Gordon Hayward again; however, they won their most recent matchup against the Hawks without him 116-106 on March 16. The Hawks went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season so an elimination in the play-in would be a huge regression.
The 34-48 Spurs travel to the Big Easy to take on the 36-46 Pelicans in a pivotal Southwest Division matchup. The Spurs dominated the season series 3-1 and won both games in New Orleans. The Pelicans have shown grit to get to this point as they’ve been without Zion Williamson all season and will be without Brandon Ingram tonight. CJ McCollum, Jonas Valanciunas, and Devonte’ Graham have led the team to a competitive season, but they’ll be playing a tough Spurs squad. Many are saying that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is a Coach of the Year favorite and if he can lead the Spurs to the 8 seed with the roster he currently has then this could be the best coaching job of his career.
Friday, April 15
- Game 5: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers (7:30 PM ET, ESPN)
- Game 6: New Orleans Pelicans at LA Clippers (10:00 PM ET, TNT)
The 8 seeds in each conference will be determined tonight with the conclusion of the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament. The 43-39 Hawks will visit the 44-38 Cavaliers in a winner takes all game. Led by Trae Young, the Hawks went to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals and lead the season series against the Cavs 3-1. The Cavs were the team to beat in the conference earlier in the season, but they’ve been injury-riddled and they may be without Jarrett Allen for tonight’s game.
Brandon Ingram and the 36-46 Pelicans travel to Crypto.com Arena to take on Paul George and the 42-40 LA Clippers. The Pelicans lead the season series 3-1, with their sole loss on the road. With the Pelicans being 10 games under .500, the Clippers are favorites to win tonight’s game, but if Paul George doesn’t live up to his “Playoff P” moniker then this could be the biggest upset of the weekend.
How to Watch
Cord cutters have a few options to watch all 6 games of the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament on TNT and ESPN.
Subscribers to live TV streaming services can check out our chart below to see if your service will be streaming the play-in games.