The 2021 NBA Playoffs tip off Tuesday evening with the new play-in tournament. A year ago, the NBA hosted a single play-in game in the Western Conference, and this year the league decided to expand the play-in format. The teams with the seventh through tenth best records in each conference will compete for the final two spots in the first round of their respective conferences.
The play-in tournament starts Tuesday, May 18 and wraps on Friday, May 21. On Tuesday, the Eastern Conference will be on display on TNT. The No. 9 Indiana Pacers will host the No. 10 Charlotte Hornets at 6:30 p.m. ET and then the No. 7 Boston Celtics will host the No. 8 Washington Wizards at 9 p.m. ET. If you aren’t around a TV to check out these matchups, you can stream them on Watch TNT or via their mobile app with a cable subscription.
On Wednesday, the Western Conference will be on display on ESPN. The No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies will host the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs at 7:30 p.m. ET and then the No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers will host the No. 8 Golden State Warriors at 10 p.m. ET. If you aren’t around a TV to check out these matchups, you can stream them on WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable subscription.
If you don’t have a cable login to access TNT or ESPN for a live stream, you can get a free trial from YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, or Sling TV to stream the games.
The play-in tournament format has the winner of the 7/8 games securing the No. 7 overall seed in the first round. The No. 8 seed will be determined by the loser of the 7/8 games and the winners of the 9/10 games. The Eastern Conference eight-seed game will be on Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT and the Western Conference eight-seed game will be on Friday at a time to be determined on ESPN.