NBA will keep play-in tournament for 1st full season since COVID-19 pandemic

·2 min read

The NBA announced notable dates for the upcoming 2021-2022 season on Tuesday, and revealed an important nugget of playoffs news: the play-in tournament will once again be part of it. 

The play-in tournament, which will take place April 12-15, 2022, wasn't the only notable date the NBA announced. The dates for Summer League, training camp, the start and end of the regular season, and the playoffs were also revealed. 

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This will be the third time the NBA will use the play-in tournament to determine the final spots in the playoffs. The teams in each conference with the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th best record battle it out in a bracket earn the final two spots in the playoffs, the 7th and 8th seeds. 

The play-in tournament was first held during the 2019-2020 playoffs in the NBA bubble. With the season shortened by COVID-19, the tournament gave teams on the bubble a chance to win their way into the playoffs.

Back to normal

The list of key dates appears to indicate that the NBA will have its first 82-game regular season since 2018-2019. The season will start on Oct. 19, 2021, which is approximately when it usually starts in regular, non-COVID-19 seasons, and will end on April 10, 2022. 

The 2019-2020 season had just 72 games due to the COVID-19 shutdown, with the playoffs lasting through September. Due to that late end date, the 2020-2021 season couldn't start on time. It began near the end of December and had just 72 games, which allowed the season to end in May.

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