NBA announces 2-part schedule release, season structure, play-in tournament – Press Enterprise

The NBA doesn’t plan to release the first half of the 2020-21 schedule until around the start of training camp on Dec. 1, but with each passing day, additional details emerge about how the fast-approaching season will work when the league returns to action outside of a bubble on Dec. 22.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced information about the season’s structure and format, confirming that each team will play 72 regular-season games, with each team playing three games against each opponent in their conference (42 games per team). Each pairing will feature either two home games and one road game, or one home game and two road games, as assigned randomly by the league office.

Each team also will play two games against opponents outside their conference (30 games per team), with each pairing featuring one home game and one road game.

So the Lakers and Clippers both will play each Western Conference team three times and each Eastern Conference team twice.

Against their Western Conference foes, the L.A. teams are scheduled to play two home games against the Northwest Division teams: Denver, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Portland and Utah, and one home game against teams from the Southwest Division: Dallas, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans and San Antonio.

Against their Pacific Division opponents, the Lakers will host Golden State and Phoenix twice. The Clippers will be the home team twice against the Lakers and Sacramento.

The league also made official the dates of the All-Star break – minus the All-Star Game – between March 5-10 and indicated that the second half of the regular-season schedule will be released near that midway point, as well as any postponed games that “can reasonably be added” to the rest of the schedule.

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And the NBA announced information about the playoff Play-In Tournament for the seventh- through 10th-seeded teams, approved on a one-year basis. That’s set to be played between May 18-21.

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 be between teams ranked ninth and 10th in winning percentage. The winner of the Seven-Eight game moves on while 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. With the Summer Olympics set to begin July 23 in Tokyo – and the qualifying tournaments for the remaining four spots in the men’s field scheduled to run from June 29 to July 4 – that almost certainly eliminates a number of players from considering participating in the Olympics.

Preseason games are scheduled for Dec. 11-19.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.