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NBA play-in match between the Lakers and the Pelicans will begin – UPI.com

1 of 5 | Forward LeBron James (23) and the Los Angeles Lakers will face the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in New Orleans. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 15 (UPI) — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will face the New Orleans Pelicans to start the 2024 NBA play-in tournament, which will help finalize the league’s 16-team playoff schedule.The play-in tournament field was finalized Sunday upon completion of the NBA’s regular season. The Nos. 7 through 10 seeds in each conference will participate in the competition.

The first round of Western Conference games will air Tuesday on TNT. First-round Eastern Conference games will air Wednesday on ESPN.

The Lakers, who finished the regular season as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, will face the No. 7 Pelicans at 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday in New Orleans.

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“It’s a new game and a new opportunity for us to be better,” James told reporters after the Lakers beat the Pelicans in their regular-season finale Sunday in New Orleans.

 

The winner of the Lakers-Pelicans play-in tournament matchup will secure the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The loser will face the winner of the No. 9 Sacramento Kings vs. No. 10 Golden State Warriors game to determine the No. 8 seed.

The Kings will host the Warriors at 10 p.m. Tuesday in Sacramento.

In the Eastern Conference, the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers will host the No. 8 Miami Heat at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Philadelphia. The winner will clinch the No. 7 seed. The loser will face the No. 10 Atlanta Hawks or No. 9 Chicago Bulls to determine the No. 8 seed.

“We are looking forward to it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters, when asked about the 76ers matchup. “It will be a great environment. Philly has been playing fantastic recently. We know what to expect up there. It’s for competitors only and it should be a lot of fun.”

The Bulls will host the Hawks at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in Chicago.

Second-round play-in tournament games will be held Friday at the higher seed’s venue. The first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs will start Saturday.

The No. 8 seed in the Western Conference will meet the No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. The No. 7 seed will face the No. 2 Denver Nuggets.

The No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference will face the No. 1 Boston Celtics. The No. 7 seed will battle the No. 2 New York Knicks.

The conference semifinals are schedule to start May 6 and 7, but could be played May 4 and 5, if the first round ends earlier. The conference finals are scheduled for May 21 and 22, but could start May 19 and 20 based on the timeframe of the semifinals.

The NBA Finals will start June 6 and could air through June 23, if necessary. Those games will air on ABC. All NBA playoff series are in best-of-seven game format.

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