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NBA In Season Tournament quarterfinals, knockout round set

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

Teams we expected to be there made it — Boston and Milwaukee, for example — but the surprises that make any tournament exciting are there, too, in the form of Sacramento and New Orleans.

After Tuesday night's games, we have the matchups for the NBA's inaugural In Season Tournament quarterfinals. They are (all times Eastern):

Monday, Dec. 4

Boston at Indiana, 7:30 PM (TNT)
New Orleans at Sacramento, 10:00 PM (TNT)

Tuesday, Dec. 5

New York at Milwaukee, 7:30 PM (TNT)
Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 10:00 PM (TNT)

Boston made the quarterfinals by blowing out Chicago 127-94. The Celtics knew they needed to win by at least 23 points to pass Orlando and win their group (Boston also needed Brooklyn to beat Toronto to make this all work), so the Celtics were hacking Andre Drummond late in a decided game to run up the score. It worked. New York got in as the wild card after blowing out shorthanded Charlotte 115-91.

In the West, Sacramento came from 24 down to end up beating the Warriors and securing their group, while the Pelicans advanced at 3-1 when the Mavericks beat the Rockets.

HOW DOES THE QUARTERFINALS/KNOCKOUT ROUND WORK?

Knowing what happens in the NBA In Season Tournament gets easy from here, it's a straight single-elimination bracket.

The winners of the four games next Monday and Tuesday will travel to Las Vegas for the semifinals on Dec. 7, and the winners of those games will face off in the finals on Dec. 9.

The losers of those games will play each other to help get to 82 games. Along those lines, the 22 teams that did not make the quarterfinals also have to play two more games to round out the 82-game schedule. Those extra games take place on Dec. 6 and 8.

The level of play in this tournament has been impressive — players have brought the intensity. Monday and Tuesday, with real money and a trip to Las Vegas now on the line — players get $100,000 each if their team makes it to the final four, which will be played in Vegas — the games next Monday and Tuesday should be on another level. It will be interesting to watch.