NBA’s new in-season tournament a long and winding road

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Aug. 19—The NBA, in an attempt to keep fans interested in a regular season that seems to drag on forever, has come up with an in-season tournament that at first glance can be confusing because of the way it is structured.

According to the league release, “All 30 teams have been randomly drawn into groups of five within their conference based on win-loss records from the 2022-23 regular season.” So if the groups of five are based on won-lost percentage from last year, the groupings don’t seem very random. The tournament games count as regular-season games.

The Cavaliers are in Group A in the East along with the Pistons, Pacers, Hawks and 76ers. The Cavs play the Pacers in Indianapolis on Nov. 3, host the Pistons Nov. 17, play at Philadelphia on Nov. 21 and host the Hawks on Nov. 28 to complete the first round of the tournament.

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Four teams from each conference will advance to the knockout round of the tournament — the three group winners plus one wildcard team from each conference. The wild-card team from each conference will be the one with the best winning percentage within group play that doesn’t finish first in the group play. Tiebreaking procedures were established to determine the wild-card team if necessary.

The quarterfinal games will be played Dec. 4 and 5 in NBA markets. The semifinals Dec. 7 and the championship game Dec. 9 will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Each of the 22 teams that do not advance to the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament will be assigned two regular-season games (one home and one away) that will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and Friday, Dec. 8.

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In the end, all teams will play 82 regular season games. The two teams that play for the In-Season championship will play an 83rd game.

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