The NBA on Tuesday released the schedule for its inaugural In-Season Tournament, with the Warriors and Kings gearing up for another high-stakes matchup after their first-round meeting in the 2023 playoffs.
The brand new addition to league play will take place for the first time during the 2023-24 NBA season, with all 30 teams participating for a chance to win the first NBA Cup, awarded to the tournament's victor, along with cash prizes.
In-season tournament play will begin Friday, Nov. 3, with the semifinals and final set for Thursday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 9, respectively. All NBA teams were split into groups of five within their conference based on the prior season's record, with six groups total, and the Warriors and Kings wound up in the same group, West Group C, along with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Nov. 3 at 5 p.m.: Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.: Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors
Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.: Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs
Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.: Warriors at Kings
Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.: Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m.: Kings at San Antonio Spurs
Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.: Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves
Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.: Kings vs. Warriors
With the dates and groups set, here's what to know about the formatting.
Group play will run from Friday, Nov. 3 to Tuesday, Nov. 28, and all group games will only occur on Tuesdays and Fridays (except Election Day). These days will be known as "Tournament Nights." The only NBA games played on these nights are tournament games, and they count towards the 82-game regular-season total.
Each team will play the other four group members once, with two games at home and two on the road. A team's record after the four games will determine if they will advance to the knockout rounds, and these tiebreakers could come into play:
• Head-to-head record in the group stage
• Point differential in the group stage
• Total points scored in the group stage
• Regular season record from the 2022-23 NBA regular season
• Random drawing (in the unlikely scenario that two or more teams are still tied following the previous tiebreakers)
Eight teams will advance to the knockout rounds: the six group winners and one "wild card" team from each conference. The wild card team will be determined by who had the best group stage record that did not finish first. The tiebreakers also could come into play here.
From there, all knockout games will be single-game elimination. The quarterfinals (Dec. 4-5) and semifinals (Dec. 7) will count towards the 82-game total in the regular season, though the championship game will not (all 22 teams not playing in the knockout rounds will play two regular-season games on Dec. 6 and 8). That also means championship game stats will not count toward the regular season, either.
The teams with the better group stage records will host the worst, similar to how NBA playoff seeding works when the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds face off and No. 3 vs. No. 6, for example.
Up until the title game, all teams only will play against teams in their conference until an East vs. West showdown transpires in the championship game, just like the NBA Finals.
Players will take home an extra $500,000 for winning the NBA Cup, while the losing team will receive $200,000 each. The semifinal losers will collect $100,000 each and the quarterfinal losers $50,000.
The league also will announce a Most Valuable Player for the tournament and an All-Tournament team. Both will be based on group-play and knockout-round performances.