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NBA In-Season Tournament lookahead and revised schedule for Dec. 6 & 8 games

NBA In-Season Tourmaent
Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Will it be a team of veterans, one that has eyes on a possible NBA title, or a team of up-and-comers, just trying to figure out how to win, that comes out on top of the first NBA In-Season Tournament?

That’s the question as the Knockout Round gets ready to top off this weekend.

You have the two favorites in the Eastern Conference – Boston and Milwaukee – still alive and two teams that were projected to be in the running in the Western Conference – the L.A. Lakers and Phoenix.

But, you have the upstarts, the Indiana Pacers, the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans, who maybe, just maybe, could use a tournament win as a springboard to bigger things.

Let’s look at the matchups.

NBA In-Season Tournament Knockout Round Schedule

Quarterfinals

Monday’s games (all times Eastern)

  • Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers (7:30 p.m., TNT)
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings (10 p.m., TNT)

Tuesday’s games

  • New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 p.m., TNT)
  • Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m., TNT)

Semifinals

At T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

  • Dec. 7: Pelicans/Kings winner vs. Lakers/Suns winner (5 or 9 p.m., ESPN)
  • Dec. 7: Pacers/Celtics winner vs. Bucks/Knicks winner (5 or 9 p.m., TNT)

Championship

  • Dec. 9: TBD vs. TBD (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

How the NBA In-Season Tournament Knockout Round was set

The Celtics beat the Bulls by 31 points to move ahead of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets. One of the tiebreakers was point differential and the big win secured the next round for Boston.

The Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets by 24 points on Tuesday, which was a better point differential than the other second-place teams in the East side of the group play.

The Kings needed to not lose by more than 12 points to Golden State and pulled that off by coming from 24 points down to beat the Warriors 124-123.

Not everyone is happy with the point differential as a tiebreaker

ESPN and the Associated Press reported that several players and coaches were concerned about the point differential tiebreaker. In more than one game Tuesday night, players stayed in which the outcome decided so the win could be by a larger margin. 

“That’s not how the game is supposed to be played,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown told ESPN. “You’ve got to respect your opponents.”

More than one player was quoted as saying that it was a “little weird” chasing points at the end of the game.

The AP reported recently that TV ratings have been up for the In-Season Tournament games over regular season games on the same day last year. So, more than likely, the In-Season Tournament is here to stay.

But it’s also likely that several changes will be made to the format for next season in an effort to address the concern of players and coaches on running up the score.

Updated schedule for Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 games

The NBA In-Season Tournament also affects the regular season schedule for teams that didn’t qualify for the Knockout Round.

The NBA released a revised schedule for those games.

Dec. 6 schedule

GameTime (ET)TV
Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers7 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Detroit Pistons7 p.m.
Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors7 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards7 p.m.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks7:30 p.m.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves7:30 p.m. ESPN
Charlotte Hornets vs. Chicago Bulls8 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets8 p.m.
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks8:30 p.m.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors10 p.m.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers10 p.m. ESPN

Dec. 8 schedule

GameTime (ET)TV
Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets7 p.m.
Detroit Pistons vs. Orlando Magic7 p.m.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers7 p.m.
Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets7:30 p.m.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat8 p.m.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies8 p.m.
Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder8 p.m.
Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs8:30 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets9 p.m.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz10 p.m. ESPN
Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers10 p.m.

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