NBA News: Play-In Tournament Officially Returning For 2021-22 Season
Lebron James, Stephen Curry, Lakers
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA Board of Governors approved a proposal to continue the Play-In Tournament for the 2021-22 season.

The NBA and Players Association previously agreed to extend the play-in concept, but now it is official after the Board of Governors decision. The Play-In Tournament format will remain the same as the tournament for the 2020-21 season, meaning seeds seven through 10 in each conference will compete against each other to fill the seventh and eighth seeds of the playoffs.

The NBA released its schedule of key dates for the 2021-22 season earlier and has the 2021-22 Play-In Tournament currently scheduled to take place from April 12-15. Teams who will be participating in the tournament will have at least two days of rest as the regular season is scheduled to end on April 10. The 2022 NBA Playoffs are set to begin on April 16.

It was almost a sure thing that the Play-In Tournament would be approved for the upcoming season after its success. Basketball fans were treated to an exciting matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors that went down to the final minute. The Lakers would end up winning the game and securing the seventh seed while the Warriors were surprisingly eliminated from the postseason after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in a game for the eighth seed.

The Play-In Tournament debuted during the 2019-20 season in the Orlando Bubble, with the Portland Trail Blazers and Grizzlies playing what was a thoroughly competitive and entertaining game. The Blazers would walk into the playoffs as a formidable eighth seed but would go on to lose in five games to the eventual NBA Champion Lakers.

Although the tournament started as an idea to recoup revenue lost during the NBA’s four-month hiatus due to coronavirus (COVID-19), it has become a major hit with fans and has added extra intrigue to the end of the regular season. As a result, teams that normally would tank the remainder of their schedule now have an incentive to try, which is a massive accomplishment.

Lakers-Warriors most-watched game on ESPN since 2019

The Lakers and Warriors found themselves in the Play-In Tournament and turned into a classic as they traded punches down to the game’s final seconds. It came as no surprise when it was later revealed that the game was the most-watched game on ESPN since 2019.

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