NBA Playoffs: The play-in arrives and drama awaits

NBA Playoffs: The play-in arrives and drama awaits

/ 10:31 AM April 16, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks vs Pacers NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks exchanges words with Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers following a game at Fiserv Forum on December 13, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

After 1,230 games, here’s where things stand: 12 teams are in the NBA playoffs, 10 teams are done and eight teams are about to fight for the final four postseason spots.

The NBA’s play-in tournament starts Tuesday with the Western Conference games. The eighth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers visit seventh-seeded New Orleans, and 10th-seeded Golden State plays an elimination game at ninth-seeded Sacramento.

The Lakers-Pelicans winner is the No. 7 seed and takes on Denver in Round 1; the Lakers-Pelicans loser will play host to the Warriors-Kings winner on Friday to decide who is the No. 8 seed and takes on Oklahoma City. The Warriors-Kings loser is eliminated.


The East play-in games are Wednesday. Eighth-seeded Miami visits seventh-seeded Philadelphia, and 10th-seeded Atlanta plays at Chicago. The Heat-76ers winner will face No. 2 New York; the other play-in survivor from the East will meet No. 1 Boston.

READ: The NBA play-in games are set


Wednesday (Manila time)

7:30 a.m. — Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans, TNT

10 a.m. — Golden State at Sacramento, TNT



7 a.m. — Miami at Philadelphia, ESPN


9:30 a.m. — Atlanta at Chicago, ESPN


Time TBD — East play-in game, ESPN

Time TBD — West play-in game, TNT


Eastern Conference

No. 1 Boston vs. Friday East play-in game winner, series starting Sunday

No. 2 New York vs. Miami or Philadelphia, series starting Saturday

No. 3 Milwaukee vs. No. 6 Indiana, series starting Sunday

No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Orlando, series starting Saturday

Western Conference

No. 1 Oklahoma City vs. Friday West play-in game winner, series starting Sunday

No. 2 Denver vs. Los Angeles Lakers or New Orleans, series starting Saturday

No. 3 Minnesota vs. No. 6 Phoenix, series starting Saturday

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas, series starting Sunday

Brooklyn, Toronto, Charlotte, Washington, Detroit, Houston, Utah, Memphis, Portland and San Antonio all saw their seasons end Sunday.


Boston has home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs and currently is the heavy favorite to win the championship, according to BetMGM. The Celtics are listed at +175, well ahead of defending champion Denver (+320). Next up: the Clippers (+1200), followed by Milwaukee (+1300) and both Oklahoma City and Dallas (each +1600).


— A look at the NBA, by the numbers this season.

— How the field was set on a wild Sunday in the NBA.


The NBA season-high for points in a game by a team this season was 157. It happened twice — both times by Indiana, and in both cases, the opponent was Atlanta.

The Pacers finished the regular season with 10,110 points. That’s fourth most in a regular season in NBA history. The others: Denver scored 10,371 in 1981-82, the Nuggets scored 10,147 in 1983-84 and Philadelphia scored 10,143 in 1966-67.

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“Indiana has had our number all year, right? So, perfect opponent. Listen, we’ve got to play somebody and they’re tough. They played great against us. They probably have great confidence against us.” — Bucks coach Doc Rivers, after learning his team will face Indiana in Round 1. The Pacers went 4-1 against the Bucks this season; the rare fifth game in the season series was part of the scheduling quirks created by the In-Season Tournament.


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