The Pacers are in the NBA's Play-In Tournament, but how does it work?

Pacers Raptors Basketball
Posted at 11:42 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 11:42:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers are kinda, sorta in the NBA postseason, but not all the way. Under the league's definition, they're not a playoff team ... yet.

The Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the NBA Play-In Tournament, which takes place before the opening round of the NBA playoffs and involves teams that finished 7th-10th in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Following the game between the ninth-seeded Pacers and 10th-seeded Hornets, No. 8 Washington will play at No. 7 Boston at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

In the Western Conference, No. 9 Memphis will host No. 10 San Antonio at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by No. 8 Golden State in Los Angeles to play the seventh-seeded Lakers at 10 p.m.

Under the NBA's old playoff rules, the Pacers, Hornets, Warriors and Lakers would have already started their offseasons, so they get a second chance, but it comes with a challenge.

Teams that finished the regular season seventh and eighth in each conference will receive two chances to win one game and advance to the playoffs, while the ninth and 10th place teams will need to win two games to move on.

That means the Pacers would need to win both Tuesday night and another game beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday against the loser of the Boston-Washington matchup to grab the No. 8 seed in the NBA playoffs. If the Hornets win, Indiana's season is over.

OK, that makes sense, but how on earth do the statistics work? Your guess is as good as the Pacers'.

NBA Play-In Tournament schedule

Tuesday's games
Game 1: Charlotte at Pacers, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Washington at Boston, 9 p.m. (TNT)

Wednesday's games
Game 3: San Antonio at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Golden State at L.A. Lakers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday's game
Eastern Conference: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 loser, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Friday's game
Western Conference: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, TBD (ESPN)