The NBA has unveiled its eagerly awaited In-Season tournament schedule, a unique mid-season contest during the initial half of the regular NBA season. The prize? The coveted In-Season trophy. Here’s a closer look at how this new, exciting format will pan out.
Launching on Friday, Nov. 3, of the 2023-24 season, the In-Season Tournament’s Group Play forms the inaugural phase of two distinct stages. These games will dominate Tuesday and Friday NBA broadcasts throughout November, coined as ‘Tournament Nights’. With exclusive broadcasting rights divided between ESPN and TNT, basketball enthusiasts can look forward to 14 thrilling Group Play matches.
Note: Mark your calendars! The complete NBA regular season schedule will drop on Thursday, Aug. 17.
Group Play Breakdown
Here’s a group-wise exploration of what fans can expect during this innovative tournament:
East Group A
- Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, and Indiana Pacers.
- Highlight A mix of three 2023 playoff teams and two underperformers.
- Opening Match: Cavaliers will head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Nov. 3.
East Group B
- Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets.
- Highlight A powerful group, with three reaching the 2023 playoffs.
- Opening Matches: On Nov. 3, Knicks will be at the Fiserv Forum to challenge the Bucks in Milwaukee, and the Heat will host the Washington Wizards.
East Group C
- Teams: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic.
- Opening Match: Nets are set to visit the Bulls in Chicago on Nov. 3.
West Group A
- Teams: Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Utah Jazz.
- Highlight: Only three of these teams clinched a playoff spot last season.
- Opening Match: Grizzlies will journey to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Nov. 3.
West Group B
- Teams: Denver Nuggets (reigning champions), Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets.
- Opening Match: The Nuggets will kickstart the season against the Mavericks at home on Nov. 3.
West Group C
- Teams: Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma Thunder.
- Opening Match: The Thunder will host the formidable Warriors in Oklahoma on Nov. 3.
The anticipation for this novel In-Season Tournament is palpable with the schedule and the groups formed. Fans, watch for the detailed schedule for each group’s matchups.