Group play in the inaugural In-Season Tournament came to an end on Tuesday night. The league put eight games on the slate, with many of them holding some significance as we try to figure out who is going to move on to the Knockout Rounds with a potential trip to Las Vegas on the horizon.
Very little was guaranteed heading into the action on Tuesday, but now, the dust is settled and we know exactly which teams will continue to compete for the NBA Cup. Here’s how it all looks.
Coming into Tuesday night’s slate of games, all we knew was that the Indiana Pacers were moving on by nature of winning Group A. Groups B and C, however, were still undecided, while the team in second place in Group A (the Cleveland Cavaliers) had its eye on earning the conference’s one Wild Card berth.
The top of Group B ended up being pretty simple: The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat, 131-124, to move to 4-0 in the group and secure the top spot. Group C ended up being a little trickier, but ultimately, a Boston Celtics win over the Chicago Bulls and a Brooklyn Nets win over the Toronto Raptors put the Celtics atop the group and through to the quarters. And as for the Wild Card spot, the New York Knicks took care of business against the Charlotte Hornets, thereby earning themselves the 4-seed.
As a result, here’s how the quarterfinals will play out:
1. Milwaukee Bucks
4. New York Knicks
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Boston Celtics
Similar to the Eastern Conference, we knew one thing coming into Tuesday night’s slate of games: The Los Angeles Lakers were moving on as the winners of Group A. Before we learned which team would win Groups B or C, a Minnesota Timberwolves win over the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Phoenix Suns through via the Wild Card.
Group B was easy enough, as the Houston Rockets needed to beat the Dallas Mavericks to move on to the quarters. If they lost, however, that would mean the New Orleans Pelicans got sent through. It took 41 points from Luka Doncic, but fortunately for the Pelicans, they got just that, as Dallas picked up a 119-115 win to send Houston home and New Orleans on to the next round.
Minnesota’s win did provide a little bit of clarity in Group C, as their win by only three points meant that they were eliminated. That meant all eyes were on the final game of the night between the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors, and as long as the Kings did not lose by 12 or more points, they would advance. Otherwise, the Warriors would go to the top of the group. And while Golden State led by as many as 24, the Kings stormed back and outright won the game, picking up a thrilling 124-123 victory in one of the best games of the season so far.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. New Orleans Pelicans
These games will all take place on Dec. 4 and 5, with the schedules for those nights coming sometime soon. Once the quarters get all sorted out, the four remaining teams will make their way to Las Vegas for the semifinals and — should they win that game — a spot in the final with the NBA Cup on the line. Both semis will take place on Dec. 7, while the final will take place on Dec. 9.