Playoff Play-In Tournament Format For 2020-21 NBA Season
Damian Lillard, NBA, NBA Playoffs
Mike Ehrmann-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced its Board of Governors unanimously approved the implementation of a playoff play-in tournament for the 2020-21 season.

The tournament will consist of the teams with the seventh- through the 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference and will take place at the end of the regular season, before the start of the playoffs.

The NBA experimented with this idea inside the bubble to finish out the 2020 season, though it was only for the eighth seed and involved just two teams.

The play-in tournament for the 2020-21 season will determine the seventh and eighth seeds and is structured so that the teams in those places will have two chances to win one game to lock in their playoff spots while the Nos. 9 and 10 teams would have to win two consecutive games.

The team with the seventh-highest win percentage will host the team with eight, with the winner of that game locking in the seventh seed. The team with the ninth-highest win percentage will host the team with the 10th-best winning percentage in a separate play-in game.

The loser of the seven-eight game will then host the winner of the nine-10 game, with the winner of that contest locking down the eighth seed of the playoffs.

This will take place in each conference and will occur from May 18-21. It is an extension on the play-in game the league tried out last season. However, this time there are no rules that will allow a team to be moved out of the tournament if they are a certain amount of games ahead of the lower seeds.

Format for 2020-21 NBA Season brings changes to usual Lakers schedule

The NBA also announced the structure for its 72 game schedule with the 2020-21 season, which will see major changes in an effort to reduce travel and protect players from the ongoing pandemic that continues to affect the country.

Teams will play each team within its conference three times and each team in the opposite conference twice. The Lakers will play all five teams in one division twice at home and once on the road. The other division will be opposite with two road games and one home game against each team.

Likewise, the league will randomly determine which teams within the division the Lakers will face twice at home and once on the road. The NBA will also release the schedule in two phases, allowing room to reschedule early games for later in the season should another coronavirus outbreak occur.

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