NBA confirms schedule format, key dates for 2020-21 season

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NEW YORK: The NBA Wednesday announced important aspects for the upcoming 2020-21 season - the 75th year of the league.

The league's 2020-21 season will see each team play 72 regular-season games beginning on Dec. 22.

As per the official release, here are the key aspects in relation to the structuring of these 72 games:

1. Each team will play three games against each intraconference opponent (42 total games per team), with each pairing featuring either two home games and one road game or one home game and two road games. Within each team's division, the league office has randomly assigned which two opponents will be played twice at home and which two opponents will be played twice on the road.
2. All five teams from within a division will play all five teams from one other intraconference division twice at home, and all five teams from the remaining intraconference division twice on the road.
3. Each team will play two games against each interconference opponent (30 total games per team), with each pairing featuring one home game and one road game.

The schedule for the season will be announced in two parts.

The schedule for the first half of the season will be released around the start of training camp while the schedule for the second half, which will include the remainder of each team's 72 games not scheduled in the first half as well as any games postponed during the First Half, will be announced towards the end of the first half of the season.

Play-in tournament details
On the unanimous approval from the Board of Governors, a Playoff play-in tournament will be implemented on a one-year basis for the 2020-21 season.

Set to take place after the end of the regular season and before the start of the playoffs, this play-in tournament will include teams seeded 7-10 in each conference.

Similar to the play-in tournament in the Orlando bubble for the 2019-20 season, the two teams seeded higher (7-8) will receive two chances to earn a spot in the playoffs while the teams seeded 9-10 in each conference would need to win two consecutive games to earn their playoff spot.

At the end of the regular season, the seventh seed will host the eighth seed in a Play-in Game (the "Seven-Eight Game"). The winner of this game is confirmed as the seventh seed in their respective conference, meanwhile, the loser will play host to the winner of the "Nine-Ten Game", a Play-in Game between teams seeded ninth (host) and tenth, for the eighth and final postseason berth in their respective conferences.

Key dates
*as per tentative schedule announced. All dates as per Eastern Time (ET).

Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games
Dec. 22, 2020 - March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season
March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break
March 11 - May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season
May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament
May 22 - July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs