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Going over the play-in tournament format for NBA Western Conference 8-seed [UPDATE]

With the race in the West extremely tight for the last spot into the playoffs, we’ll go over how the tournament will work again.

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder on August 7, 2020 at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA regular season is heading into its final week with the seeding round wrapping up on Friday. After that, we’ll head into the play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, which could feature more teams than originally thought. With a lot of implications heading into Sunday, August 9th, it’s a good idea to refresh yourself on the rules for the potential tournament. Let’s go back over them and take a look at the updated standings in the West.

Update: The Trail Blazers defeated the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament this weekend. The Blazers will face the Grizzlies at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. If the Blazers win, they advance as the 8-seed to the playoffs. If the Grizz win, the teams will play again Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Update: The Spurs have been eliminated from playoff contention after wins by the Grizzlies and Suns, who are tied with the Trail Blazers. If Portland wins, the Blazers will face the Grizzlies in the play-in tournament this weekend.

Update: So the NBA hasn’t officially announced times for the two play-in games over the weekend. If the NBA’s Canadian and Indiana affiliated sites are any indication, the games will take place as follows:

Game 1 — August 15th, 2:30 p.m. ET
Game 2 — August 16th, 4:30 p.m. ET (if required)

Update: The Kings and Pelicans each lost on Sunday and were eliminated from playoff contention. The Trail Blazers defeated the Sixers on Sunday and moved 0.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the 8-seed in the West. Memphis lost to the Raptors. These standings are updated through Monday, August 10th.

Western Conference 8-seed Standings

8. Portland Trail Blazers — 35-39
9. Memphis Grizzlies — 34-39
10. Phoenix Suns — 34-39
11. San Antonio Spurs — 32-38 0.5 GB
12. New Orleans Pelicans — 30-40 — 2.5 GB
13. Sacramento Kings — 29-41 — 3.0 GB

So if the team with the 8-seed in the conference is ahead of the team in 9th place by more than 4.0 games in the standings, no play-in tournament is needed. That will not be the case with the Grizzlies sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Blazers with three games remaining. If the 8-seed is 4.0 games or fewer ahead of the 9th-place team in the conference, a play-in tournament will decide who gets into the playoffs. It will be a best-of-two series, with the 8-seed needing to win one game in order to advance. Here’s a link to the full list of rules for the restart.