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In-season tourney brings Las Vegas 1st NBA ‘games of consequence’

Updated July 8, 2023 - 9:07 pm

An NBA in-season tournament has been 15 years in the making, commissioner Adam Silver said, but ending it in Las Vegas was a no-brainer for the league.

“This city knows how to host big events,” he said Saturday.

The semifinals and finals of the first NBA in-season tournament will be held Dec. 7 and Dec. 9 at T-Mobile Arena.

Las Vegas won’t necessarily be the permanent home for the tournament’s Final Four. The location will be assessed on an annual basis, Evan Wasch, NBA vice president of basketball strategy, said.

“We’re trying to differentiate this from our traditional NBA season playoffs,” Wasch said. “It will look different, the game elements, and that’s easier to do at a neutral site. … Obviously, Vegas has become a tremendous market for us. Between Summer League and the G League Showcase and G League Ignite being here … it has yet to have games of consequence.”

The tournament begins with group play, with all 30 NBA teams being split into six groups, three from the Eastern Conference and three from the Western Conference. The groups are based in part on last season’s records.

Teams will play each team in their group one time. Those games will happen mostly on Tuesdays and Fridays in November, and the games count against a team’s regular-season and in-season tournament records.

The teams with the best record from each group and one wild-card team from each conference will move on to the knockout round. The quarterfinal winners from those eight teams will then head to Las Vegas.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he’s looking forward to the new addition to the schedule.

“I think being creative with the regular season has been really successful,” Kerr said. “I’m excited about this in-season tournament, it’s going to add an element, with energy and excitement for the players, coaches and fans. I think it’s a great idea.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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