NBA 2020-21: All the major changes in the NBA Format before the start of the new NBA season

NBA 2020: The NBA has released the structure and format for the 2020-21 season. It will include a Play-in tournament to determine the 7th and 8th playoff seeds in both the conferences. The new NBA season starts on the 22nd of December.

Each team will play 72 games. This is done to allow playoffs to be completed in July so that the offseason does not clash with the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

In the new format, each team will play three games against each intraconference opponent (42 total games per team), the fixtures are made in such a way that there are either two home games and one road game or one home game, and two road games.

Opponent Matrix for the 2020-21 NBA regular season:

Within each team’s division, the league office has randomly assigned which two opponents will be played twice at home and which two opponents will be played twice on the road.

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Format of the fixtures for the 2020-21 NBA season:

  • All five teams from within a division will play all five teams from one other intraconference division twice at home, and all five teams from the remaining intraconference division twice on the road.
  • Each team will play two games against each interconference opponent (30 total games per team), with each pairing featuring one home game and one road game.
  • The 2020-21 regular-season schedule will be released in two segments. The schedule for the First Half of the season will be released around the start of training camp.
  • The Second Half schedule will include the remainder of each team’s 72 games not scheduled in the First Half as well as any games postponed during the First Half that can reasonably be added to the Second Half schedule.

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While there were speculations about the All-Star game happening or not, the new tentative schedule states that the All-Star break will take place between March 5-10. This will include the Rising Stars Challenge, 3 point challenges, Slam Dunk Competition, and the infamous All-Star game.

The playoff Play-In Tournament will be implemented on a one-year basis for the 2020-21 season. It will take place after the regular season and before the first round of the playoffs.

The Play-In tournament will include the teams with the seventh-highest through the tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference.

How will the Play-In tournament function?

The teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot. The teams with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have to win two consecutive games to earn a playoff spot.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the team with the seventh-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the eighth-highest winning percentage in its conference in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”).

The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will be the seventh seed in the playoffs for its conference.

The team with the ninth-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the tenth-highest winning percentage in its conference in a Play-In Game (the “Nine-Ten Game”).

The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game will be the eighth seed in the playoffs for its conference.

NBA schedule: Below is the tentative schedule calendar for the NBA 2020-21 season:

 • Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games

 • Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season

 • March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break

 • March 11 – May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season

 • May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament

 • May 22 – July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs

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