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November 09, 2023

Sixers In-Season Tournament primer

The Sixers' In-Season Tournament begins Friday night. Here's what you need to know about the NBA's latest event.

The Sixers kick off their NBA In-Season Tournament schedule Friday night when they head to Detroit to take on the Pistons. It is their first of four In-Season Tournament contests.

"Personally, I love it," Nick Nurse said in October of the In-Season Tournament. "The pool play will be interesting."

So, how exactly does this whole thing work?

Group Play

The Sixers and Pistons are in the Eastern Conference's Group A, along with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks. The In-Season Tournament's Group Play stage is taking place on Tuesday and Friday nights in November, with the Sixers' wrapping up their docket near the end of the month:

• Friday, November 10: @ Detroit Pistons

• Tuesday, November 14: vs. Indiana Pacers

• Friday, November 17: @ Atlanta Hawks

• Tuesday, November 21: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Important note: all Group Play games will count towards the teams' regular season records.

Of their four opponents, Cleveland likely poses the greatest threat — armed with two high-level guards in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, plus two defensive anchors in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. They figure to be disruptive in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season. Atlanta is far from the unit that knocked the Sixers off in the playoffs years ago, but should not be taken lightly. Indiana is an exciting, fast-paced team that plays in a lot of high-scoring games but likely isn't ready to compete just yet. Ditto for Detroit, who are still in the very early stages of a rebuild.

There are three groups in each conference. Whichever team wins each group moves on, as well as one wild card team in each conference. That makes for eight teams who advance through Group Play.

Knockout Rounds + Championship

The Knockout Rounds are exactly what they sound like: single-elimination games, formatted as an eight-team tournament between the teams who advance through Group Play. This is where things get a bit tricky, though: all teams currently have two games on their schedule listed as "to be determined." Those are the games taking place during Knockout Rounds: single-elimination In-Season Tournament games for those still alive, and standard regular season games for those who have been eliminated.

Up until the championship round between just two teams, games in the Knockout Rounds will also count towards the teams' regular season records. The two teams who participate in the final game of the In-Season Tournament will play that extra 83rd game, but it will not count towards their regular season records.


The team that wins the In-Season Tournament will be awarded the brand new NBA Cup, and each player on the winning team will make an extra $500,000. Additionally, there will be an In-Season Tournament Most Valuable Player and an All-Tournament Team — determined based on both Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.

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