NBA regular-season schedule for 2020-21 to be released in 2 stages, with play-in tournament May 18-21
9:12 PM ET
The NBA announced the structure and format for the 2020-21 season Tuesday night, including how exactly the upcoming schedule will be released.
The schedule will be released in two halves — what the league is calling the First Half and the Second Half. The schedule for the First Half of the season, which will run from Dec. 22 to March 4, will be released around the start of training camp, set for Dec. 1.
The league won’t release the schedule for the Second Half until later in the First Half. That will include the rest of each team’s 72 regular-season games that weren’t previously scheduled, as well as any games that were postponed in the First Half of the season that “can reasonably be added” to the rest of the schedule.
Dec. 11-19: Preseason games
Dec. 22-March 4: First half of regular season
March 5-10: All-Star break
March 11-May 16: Second half of regular season
May 18-21: Play-In tournament
May 22-July 22: Playoffs
The All-Star break is set to take place March 5-10, between the two halves.
The Second Half of the season will run from March 11 to May 16. The play-in tournament will be held from May 18 to 21 before the playoffs tip off May 22.
Each NBA team will play the teams within its conference three times for a total of 42 games, while playing the teams from the opposing conference twice each (30 games).
Within each team’s division, the league has already assigned which opponents will be played twice at home, and which will be played twice on the road.
Each division within a conference will then play all five teams from another intraconference division twice at home, and all five teams from the remaining division twice on the road.
The league said its board of governors unanimously approved the play-in tournament proposal on a one-year basis in a vote Thursday. The teams with the seventh- and eighth-highest winning percentages will have two chances to make the playoffs, while the teams with the ninth- and 10th-highest winning percentages will have one chance.
The “Seven-Eight Game” will be between the teams ranked seventh and eighth, while the “Nine-Ten Game” will feature the teams ranked ninth and 10th. The winner of the Seven-Eight Game will advance to the playoffs. The loser will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game, as had been previously reported.
The NBA Finals are set to run through July 22. The Summer Olympics begin July 23 — and the qualifying tournaments for the remaining four spots in the men’s field are scheduled to run from June 29 to July 4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.