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NBA will keep play-in tournament for 1st full season since COVID-19 pandemic

Yahoo Sports US logo Yahoo Sports US 7/27/2021 Liz Roscher

The NBA announced notable dates for the upcoming 2021-2022 season on Tuesday, and revealed an important nugget of playoffs news: the play-in tournament will once again be part of it. 

The play-in tournament, which will take place April 12-15, 2022, wasn't the only notable date the NBA announced. The dates for Summer League, training camp, the start and end of the regular season, and the playoffs were also revealed. 

This will be the third time the NBA will use the play-in tournament to determine the final spots in the playoffs. The teams in each conference with the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th best record battle it out in a bracket earn the final two spots in the playoffs, the 7th and 8th seeds. 

The play-in tournament was first held during the 2019-2020 playoffs in the NBA bubble. With the season shortened by COVID-19, the tournament gave teams on the bubble a chance to win their way into the playoffs.

Back to normal

The list of key dates appears to indicate that the NBA will have its first 82-game regular season since 2018-2019. The season will start on Oct. 19, 2021, which is approximately when it usually starts in regular, non-COVID-19 seasons, and will end on April 10, 2022. 

The 2019-2020 season had just 72 games due to the COVID-19 shutdown, with the playoffs lasting through September. Due to that late end date, the 2020-2021 season couldn't start on time. It began near the end of December and had just 72 games, which allowed the season to end in May.

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