The league’s inaugural in-season tournament is set to begin Friday, and while such a competition is familiar with international soccer fans, it’s new territory in the US, where leagues typically have only one championship.
But unlike England’s FA Cup or North America’s less-celebrated Leagues Cup, the new in-season tournament blends the NBA’s 82-game regular season with group and knockout stages.
Simply put, teams won’t necessarily be playing more basketball, but the stakes have changed somewhat.
Here’s a preview of what to expect from the NBA’s grand experiment:
Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs will take part in the group stage of the event starting Friday
Courts were redesigned for the event so that fans will be able to distinguish tourney games
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every Tuesday and Friday in November (except for this coming Tuesday, when there are no games to commemorate Election Day) has been designated as a tournament night. All games on the schedule those nights are tournament games.
Paul George (left) and Victor Wembanyama (right) could win a title as early as December
There are six five-team groups; teams play the other four teams in their group once. The six group winners make the quarterfinals, as will a pair of wild-card teams — the two best second-place finishers from the groups.
Quarterfinal games are December 4 and 5 at higher seeds; the semifinals are December 7 in Las Vegas and the title game is December 9 in Las Vegas.
There are 14 teams that will begin play Friday and 13 teams will get their first tournament games in on November 10. Orlando and Atlanta won’t start their tournament schedules until November 14, and Toronto doesn’t make its tournament debut until November 17.
The 22 teams that don’t make the quarterfinals will play still-to-be-scheduled regular-season games on December 6 and December 8. Also on the December 8 schedule: regular-season games between the teams that lose quarterfinal games.
- East Group A — Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Indiana and Detroit.
- East Group B — Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Washington and Charlotte.
- East Group C — Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago and Orlando.
- West Group A — Memphis, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah and Portland.
- West Group B — Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.
- West Group C — Sacramento, Golden State, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
There are many reasons, but ratings are very high on the list. The new courts are designed to catch the eye of channel-flippers and make them take notice (with hopes they stop to watch the games), and it’s no coincidence that this tournament will happen before Christmas – traditionally when more people start watching the NBA. Anything to bring more eyeballs in November and early December is a plus.
There’s a cash incentive, $500,000 per player on the winning team and smaller prizes ($50,000 to $200,000 per player) for the other teams that make the quarterfinals and semifinals. That works out to a total prize pool of about $18 million.
And it should put a little extra meaning on early season games.
‘I think they’ve embraced the ideal of playing for something in the middle of the season,’ Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said. ‘I think it’s good for our game, which I’m always excited about. … You like being the best at what you do. It’s an opportunity to be the best at something, let’s give it a go.’
Also at stake: The NBA Cup. Fans will see images of the new trophy splashed on the courts throughout the tournament. There will be an MVP and an All-Tournament team as well.
Kristaps Porzingis and his Celtics teammates could win $500,000 apiece in the tournament
DO THE GAMES COUNT?
Yes, except the championship game. Every game in the tournament counts as one of the 82 regular-season games that all teams will play this season.
The reason the championship game doesn’t count is that the teams in that matchup will end up playing 83 games — and it doesn’t make sense, standings-wise, to have two teams playing one more game than the other 28 clubs.
Teams got 80-game schedules over the summer. Games 81 and 82 will either be those crossover games on December 6 and 8, or the quarterfinals and semifinals.
WHAT ABOUT THESE COURTS?
Every team will have a different, newly painted home court for this tournament — primarily a solid color, with a stripe down the center of the floor and images of the NBA Cup at both midcourt and in the foul lanes.
It will be especially different in Boston, where parquet will be temporarily put away.
The Celtics will play a home game on a non-parquet floor for the first time in club history
In 1946, when then-Celtics owner Walter Brown wanted a court for his new team, only scraps of wood were available because of shortages that followed World War II. So, the parquet-style court was utilized and became a permanent fixture for the team when it moved full-time into Boston Garden in 1952.
But for games in Boston during this tournament, no parquet.
WHAT DO THE ODDS SAY?
Think of the tournament this way: a four-game regular season before the playoffs. With only four games to decide who moves on from each group, expect surprises. A two-game losing streak in the tournament might be tough to overcome.
Boston is the favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, at 8-1. Milwaukee and Denver have 8.5-1 odds, while the Lakers and Golden State are 12-1.
General Billing Rules
The early settlement function is only applicable to some live betting markets, and members can make early settlement when the betting is live. Please forgive me if you find any inconvenience caused by "all transactions will be canceled after a live ball is scored".
The advance settlement amount already includes the principal, please note!
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In case of event cancellation or cut in half, the bets settled in advance after the interruption of the event will be cancelled, the amount settled in advance of the bet will be deducted from the member's account and the original betting amount will be returned; the bets settled in advance before the interruption of the event will still be considered It is a "valid bet slip".
Sports Event Casino Handicap Description
|It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.
|Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.
|Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the two teams will tie and win by 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins by 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 3 points.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.
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Handicap Market: This bet is based on point difference, and punters must predict whether the winner's point difference is greater or less than a preset point difference.
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