How does the NBA In-Season Tournament work? Explaining the bracket, rules and more to know for 2023

The Knockout Round of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament is here, meaning eight teams will vie for the NBA Cup over six days. But how did we get here?

With the newness of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament, there have been a number of moving parts involving all 30 NBA teams — many of which were still in contention for the NBA Cup up until the last day of Group Play, which took center stage on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the month of November.

Now that the Knockout Round is officially upon us, here’s how the NBA’s In-Season Tournament works.

MORE: Complete bracket for the NBA In-Season Tournament

NBA In-Season Tournament format, explained

The NBA In-Season Tournament is split into two stages: Group Play and the Knockout Round.

Group Play

All 30 NBA teams participated in the Group Play stage, with six total groups (three per conference) comprised of five teams. Teams were placed into groups via random drawings.

Each team played a total of four games in the Group Play stage to determine seeding and which teams would advance to the Knockout Round. Each game of Group Play, which was played on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout November, also counted toward the team’s regular-season record.

The six group winners automatically moved on to the Knockout Round, where they would be joined by two “wildcard” teams (one per conference).

The wildcard teams are the teams with the highest winning percentages that finished second in their respective groups.

Seeding and tiebreakers

With teams playing just four games in the Group Play stage, a number of tiebreakers were enacted if teams finished with the same record.

In the event of a two-way tie within a group, the winner is determined by head-to-head record.

In the event of a three-way tie within a specific group, point differential comes into play. The team with the greatest point differential over four games is named group winner.

Wildcard teams are decided similarly, with head-to-head standing as the first tiebreaker in the event that two teams from the same group are in contention. After head-to-head record, the sequential order of tiebreakers are point differential, total points scored, regular-season record from the 2022-23 NBA regular season and, in an unlikely scenario, a random drawing.

Knockout Round

In each conference, teams that advance to the Knockout Round are seeded 1 through 4 based on their play during the Group Play stage. The wildcard in each conference is seeded fourth.

The Quarterfinals of the Knockout Round are played in the home market of the top two seeds in each conference. The No. 1 seed hosts the No. 4 seed while No. 2 hosts No. 3.

Unlike the Group Play stage, the Knockout Round is single-elimination, meaning each team that loses is knocked out and eliminated from contention for the NBA Cup.

The teams that advance to the Semifinals move on to Las Vegas, which hosts the Semifinals and Championship game at T-Mobile Arena.

The Championship is the only In-Season Tournament game that does not count toward a team’s regular-season record and is effectively their 83rd game of the season.

What happens to teams that are eliminated from the NBA In-Season Tournament?

The 22 teams that do not qualify for the Knockout Rounds will play two regular-season games during tournament off nights that week (Dec. 6 and 8).

The four teams that lose in the Quarterfinals will play a regular-season game on Dec. 8. The teams that lose in the Semifinals will proceed with their regular season schedule.

MORE: Full schedule for teams eliminated from NBA In-Season Tournament

NBA In-Season Tournament prize money

Players will earn prize money based on how far their teams advance in the In-Season Tournament, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Each player on the eight teams that have advanced to the quarterfinals will receive at least $50,000.

  • Win championship: $500,000 per player
  • Reach championship game: $200,000 per player
  • Reach semifinal game: $100,000 per player
  • Reach quarterfinal game: $50,000 per player

Players will also be eligible to win the In-Season Tournament MVP award and make the All-Tournament Team.

Payouts also extend to each coaching staff. The head coaches receive the same amount that the players do, and assistant coaches receive an additional share of the pool money that will equal 75 percent of the head coach’s total payout. 

MORE: Why NBA stars are motivated by In-Season Tournament prize money

2023 NBA In-Season Tournament schedule

Quarterfinals

(Played at the home arena of the higher-seeded team.)

Date Matchup Time (ET) TV channel
Monday, Dec. 4 Celtics at Pacers 7:30 p.m. TNT
Monday, Dec. 4 Pelicans at Kings 10:00 p.m. TNT
Tuesday, Dec. 5 Knicks at Bucks 7:30 p.m. TNT
Tuesday, Dec. 5 Suns at Lakers 10:00 p.m. TNT

Semifinals

(Played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.)

Date Matchup Time (ET) TV channel
Thursday, Dec. 7 East Semifinal 5 p.m. ESPN
Thursday, Dec. 7 West Semifinal 9 p.m. TNT

Championship

(Played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.)

Date Matchup Time (ET) TV channel
Saturday, Dec. 9 Championship 8:30 p.m. ABC

WATCH: STREAM THE IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT LIVE WITH SLING TV

2023 NBA In-Season Tournament bracket

Source : ESPN.com

Share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Latest Sports News
Straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.