The NBA finalized the structure for its 72-game season that will kick off next month on Tuesday night.
The league announced scheduling plans for teams throughout the modified season and is planning to hold a play-in tournament for the final playoff seeds.
NBA season split into two parts
The 2020-21 season is set to kick off on Dec. 22, and will finish no later than July 22, 2021 — just before the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
The first half of the season will take place between Dec. 22 and March 4. The All-Star break will then last until March 10, before the second half of the season starts and concludes before May 16.
While there is an All-Star break built-in, the league will not hold an actual All-Star game or any of the festivities that come with it, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Team schedules will be released in two parts, once during training camps and then the second half sometime before the All-Star break. Any games postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — or any other reason — in the first half of the season will be pushed to the second half as long as it can be “reasonably added.”
Playoff play-in tournament
The league is set to adopt another version of the play-in tournament for the final playoff spots again next spring — something it first did inside the bubble at Walt Disney World.
Teams in seventh through 10th place in each conference at the end of the regular season will enter in the play-in tournament to battle for the final two playoff seeds. The seventh and eighth seed teams in each conference will play each other, with the winner of that game earning the No. 7 seed. The loser will then take on the winner of a game between the ninth and 10th place teams for the final seed.
In order for the ninth or 10th place teams to earn a spot in the playoffs, it must win two play-in games.
The play-in tournament will take place between May 18-21. The playoffs will then begin normally on May 22 and wrap up no later than July 22.
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