Play in: what it is, which teams play it and when is it played

The last playoff ticket in the West will be decided with the new system introduced by the NBA to spice up the last games.


The NBA introduced a momentous novelty for the restart of the 2019-20 season in the Walt Disney World bubble: play in. After many rumors about possible changes and tests with the format, the classic table for the qualifiers was maintained (East and West, all rounds to the best of seven games) but it was decided to give excitement to the regular phase section that has been played (seeding games: eight games per team) with a previous round that gave more franchises options to finally be in the fight for the ring. And it has worked: the excitement has literally lasted until the last second of the Blazers-Nets, the last game that involved the teams fighting for that play in.


QUIZ? Normally the top eight in each conference qualify for the playoffs for the NBA title. In this exceptional end of the 2020 course, the League introduced a novelty: if the ninth finished the seeding games four victories or less behind the eighth, both (eighth and ninth) would face each other to play the last ticket for the qualifying rounds. In the East it has not been necessary. Only nine teams arrived in Florida (the top eight from each Conference and those who were six wins or less from the eighth on each side) and the ninth, the Wizards, has only won one game in the bubble (1-7), the last and inconsequential against the Boston Celtics. And he's finished seven and a half games behind eighth, Orlando Magic.

But in the West there has been a battle and there will be play in. The New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings were eliminated first. And on the last day the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns said goodbye. Portland Trail Blazers finished eighth (35-39) with only a percentage difference to Memphis Grizzlies (34-39). They are eighth and ninth, so they will be in charge of playing the first play-in in the history of the NBA.

The format is very simple. The eighth classified has to win one game and the ninth, two. In this way, if the Blazers take the victory in the first game, they will definitely be the eighth and will be the rival of the Lakers in the first round of the West. But if the Grizzlies win the first game, there will be a second and final game. Whoever takes it will be the one in the playoffs. The eighth, since there is no field advantage because all games are played without an audience in the Florida bubble, he has a clear advantage since he can puncture in a game. The ninth, no.


The regular phase ends today Friday and the playoffs begin on Monday, August 17. Before the weekend is left for the play in. The games are scheduled for Saturday 15 and, if necessary, the second, Sunday 16. The first, on Saturday, is played at 20:30 Spanish time. The second, on Sunday, would be played at 10:30 p.m. (also in Spanish time) .


Portland Trail Blazers, current Western Conference finalist, reach the play in eighth and the Memphis Grizzlies will do so from ninth. Tennesseans started with a clear advantage before the restart, but have only been able to win two games in the seeding games. A 2-6 that he contracts with the 6-2 of the Blazers, who came back to get into the previous tie and do so, in addition, with the advantage of being able to lose the first game, a luxury that some Grizzlies do not have, yes, they ensured their presence in the bottom echelon before the playoffs at the expense of two tough contenders: the Suns, who have won all eight of their games in Florida and ended up eliminated with the same balance as the Bears (34-39); and the Spurs, the team that aspired to be the first in history to play the playoffs 23 consecutive seasons.

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