By: Rory Zeman
Starting on Nov. 3, the NBA’s inaugural mid-season tournament kicked off, with all of the games inspiring new competitive fervor within the league’s fanbases. The NBA is implementing the new tournament as a way to intensify the earlier stages of the seven-month-long NBA season. With fans, coaches, and players preparing for this high-stakes, revolutionary tournament, here’s a look at what these series of games have to offer.
The tournament will follow a rudimentary format, with all 30 NBA teams participating. The initial phases will include a group-play style qualification. During this stage, each of the 30 NBA teams is part of a group of five. The groups will face off in games against opposing teams throughout the month of November, with games every Tuesday and Friday. The teams with the best record from each group will advance to the semi-final rounds. However, the teams with the second-best record in each group will compete for two wild card spots in the semifinals in single-elimination games.
The second segment of the tournament is a bracket-style, win-or-go-home format. Each team that qualifies for this part of the tournament will face off in the quarter-finals, with the winning teams of these games moving on to the semi-finals in Las Vegas. The finals of this tournament will then take place on Dec. 9, in Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena. The winning players will receive varying cash prizes. Furthermore, the NBA will select a tournament MVP from the winning team and an All-Tournament team, made up of the best players at each position during the many stages of the games.
With the season underway, many of the games for the group play stage have already begun. On Nov. 3, the first games took place, with the Golden State Warriors beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in a tense game coming down to the final few seconds where Golden State’s Stephen Curry hit a game-winning layup. Not only that, the Portland Trail Blazers barely edged out the Memphis Grizzlies by two points in an overtime game. The first day of the season also saw the Brooklyn Nets beat the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks taking down the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat ousting the Washington Wizards, and the Denver Nuggets overtaking the Dallas Mavericks.
The NBA’s new mid-season tournament has much in store for fans who crave the tenacious, high-stakes feel of the playoffs, without interfering with the traditional flow of the NBA season by counting all games— except the championship —as regular season games toward teams’ records.
(Sources: CNN, NBA)