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Who gets the home-court advantage in the NBA Play-in tournament?

Since 2019-2020, The NBA Play-In Tournament has been the league’s preliminary postseason deciding tournament for teams to conquer playoff spots.

The Los Angeles Lakers

The need for the first NBA play-in tournament occurred during the COVID-stricken season of 2019-2020 when the organization decided to play preliminary games as part of their plans for the “bubble” conditions. The additional games allowed more TV time and enhanced competitiveness among the teams fighting to enter the playoffs.


Play-in tournament format

After the successful experiment in November 2020, the NBA confirmed continuing the play-in tournament with a new format that included the teams that ranked 7th through 10th in each conference. The NBA will determine the play-in and playoff standings and which teams have earned the highest winning percentages in each conference.

The teams are seeded using a round-robin tournament under the Page–McIntyre system in that new format. The top four play a mix of a single-elimination and double-elimination tournament to determine the winner. The 9th-place team hosts the 10th-place team in an elimination game. The 7th hosts the 8th-place team in the double-chance match, with the winner advancing as the 7th seed. The loser of this game then hosts the winner of the elimination game between the 9th and 10th place teams to determine the 8-seed.


Here is a simplified illustration of the matches in the play-in tournament:

Eastern Conference

East 7 vs. East 8: The winner gets the No. 7 overall seed

East 9 vs. East 10: The loser is eliminated

Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10: Winner gets No. 8 overall seed

Western Conference

West 7 vs. West 8: The winner gets the No. 7 overall seed

West 9 vs. West 10: The loser is eliminated

Loser 7/8 vs. Winner 9/10: Winner gets No. 8 overall seed

Like in the first three rounds of the National Basketball Association playoffs, the same case in the play-in tournament, the home-court advantage is awarded to the team that is seeded higher in the final season rankings.