NBA In-Season Tournament Group Phase: Point Differentials Could Be Deciding Factor at Conclusion

The NBA has some drama for the final night of group play in the inaugural In-Season Tournament. There are eight games left — all potentially having implications on who will advance. Tiebreakers to separate teams with 3-1 (or maybe even 2-2) records will likely come into play. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head, and the second is point differential — raising the possibility that a team with a lead as time is running out in an already-decided game might look for more points in the final seconds.

Indiana and the Los Angeles Lakers are the only two teams that have secured quarterfinal spots. From there, 16 teams remain alive for the remaining six quarterfinal spots. The easiest things to figure out are these: if Milwaukee beats Miami and if Sacramento beats Golden State, then the Bucks and Kings will be the other two quarterfinal hosts. Other than that, good luck figuring out all the possible tiebreakers.

Standings for teams such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Charlotte, Orlando, Boston, Brooklyn, Phoenix, New Orleans, Houston, Sacramento, Minnesota, and Golden State will determine the remaining six quarterfinal spots.

The tiebreaker might decide the fate of some teams. For example, Orlando will win the group in Group C if Brooklyn loses. Whoever wins the games on Tuesday will play a crucial role in determining the quarterfinalists.

The NBA: