NBA Play-In Tournament, playoff schedule set after season finales

All-Star center Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers will face the Toronto Raptors in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

MIAMI, April 11 (UPI) — The 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament field is finalized, and the Top 12 postseason seeds, including the Utah Jazz, are locked in and playoff matchups are in place after the conclusion of the regular season.

The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns clinched the respective No. 1 seeds in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference, but won’t know exactly who they will play in their playoff games until the conclusion of the Play-In Tournament.

The Heat ended the season with a 125-111 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday in Orlando, Fla. The Sacramento Kings beat the Suns 116-109 in their season finale on Sunday in Phoenix.

“We will ramp in up in the middle of the week and just make sure we are working on our habits and a rhythm,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Sunday. “Then, when we finally get the nod of who we are playing, we will dial into the details of our specific opponent.”

NBA Play-In Tournament games run from Tuesday through Friday. First-round, best-of-seven game playoff series start Saturday and run through next week. The conference semifinals are expected to start May 2.

The conference finals are scheduled for mid-May. Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals will be June 2.

The Suns, reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Heat, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors are among the title favorites.

“I really don’t care who we play,” Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant told reporters Saturday. “I’m focused on us getting better and being ready to go out there and play. No matter who it is, we will go into the games the same way.”

Play-in Tournament

The Play-In Tournament features the team with the seventh-highest winning percentage in each conference in a game against the team with the conference’s eighth-highest winning percentage. The winner of that game will earn the No. 7 seed in each conference.

The team with the ninth-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in another play-in game. The loser of the first play-in game will then face the winner of the second play-in game to determine each conference’s No. 8 seed for the playoffs.

The No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers battle the No. 7 Nets in the next game on the NBA schedule. That Eastern Conference play-in game tips off at 7 p.m. EST Tuesday in Brooklyn.

The No. 9 Atlanta Hawks host the No. 10 Charlotte Hornets in the other Eastern Conference play-in game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

The No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves host the No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers in the first Western Conference play-in game at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans host the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs in the second Western Conference play-in game at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

The Eastern Conference play-in finale, between the loser of Cleveland-Boston and winner of Charlotte-Atlanta will be Friday. The Western Conference play-in finale, between the loser of Minnesota-Los Angeles and winner of San Antonio-New Orleans will be the same night.

Eastern Conference

The Heat will face the No. 8 seed out of the Play-In tournament in a first-round Eastern Conference matchup. The Celtics earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They’ll host the No. 7 seed out of the Play-In Tournament in the first round.

The Bucks claimed the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will battle the No. 6 Chicago Bulls in the first round. The No. 4 seed 76ers earned a first-round matchup with the No. 5 Toronto Raptors.

The 76ers host the Raptors in the first Eastern Conference playoff game at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Celtics and Heat each host to-be-determined opponents in their first playoff games Sunday at their home arenas. The Bucks also start their playoff run Sunday with a home game against the Bulls.

Western Conference

The Suns also will face the No. 8 seed out of their respective Play-In Tournament in their first-round series. The Memphis Grizzlies earned the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed and will host the No. 7 seed.

The No. 3 Warriors host the No. 6 Denver Nuggets in their first postseason game. The No. 4 Dallas Mavericks and No. 5 Utah Jazz also will meet in the first round.

The Mavericks host the Jazz in the first Western Conference playoff game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Grizzlies follow with a game against the No. 7 seed from the Play-In Tournament at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Memphis.

The Warriors host the Nuggets at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in San Francisco. The Suns open their playoff schedule Sunday against the No. 8 seed from the Western Conference


Play-In Tournament


Cavaliers at Nets at 7 p.m. on TNT

Clippers at Timberwolves at 9:30 p.m. on TNT


Hornets at Hawks at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Spurs at Pelicans at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN


Hornets or Hawks at Cavaliers or Nets at TBD on ESPN

Spurs or Pelicans at Clippers or Timberwolves at TBD on TNT

First round


Jazz at Mavericks at 1 p.m. on ESPN

Western Conference No. 7 seed at Grizzlies at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Raptors at 76ers at 6 p.m. on ESPN

Nuggets at Warriors at 8:30 p.m. on ABC


Eastern Conference No. 7 seed vs. Celtics at TBD on TBD

Eastern Conference No. 8 seed at Heat at TBD on TBD

Bulls at Bucks at TBD on TBD

Western Conference No. 8 seed at Suns at TBD on TBD


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