NBA In-Season Tournament: Kings, Warriors matchup has big implications

Nov 27, 2023, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:20 am

A general view of the court before the NBA In-Season Tournament between between the Sacramento King...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 10: A general view of the court before the NBA In-Season Tournament between between the Sacramento Kings and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden 1 Center on November 10, 2023 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

After the Sacramento Kings finalized their six-game road trip with a 124-111 NBA In-Season Tournament win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tuesday’s final slate of round-robin play will feature heavy stakes.

Sacramento was placed into West Group C for the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, along with the Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs.

Aside from Victor Wembanyama’s Spurs, every team within West Group C has one game remaining. The current standings are as follows, with point differential listed within parentheses:

  • 1. Sacramento Kings: 3-0 (+29)
  • 2. Minnesota Timberwolves: 2-1 (-3)
  • 3. Golden State Warriors: 2-1 (+5)
  • 4. Oklahoma City Thunder: 1-2 (+27)
  • 5. San Antonio Spurs: 4-0 (-58)

The Sacramento Kings will clinch their group if they win their Tuesday night matchup with the Golden State Warriors. However, if they were to lose, the situation would become more complicated.

Minnesota’s faceoff against Oklahoma City the same night becomes crucial in that scenario due to the tie-breaker format.

What are the NBA In-Season Tournament tiebreakers?

  • Head-to-head record in the Group Stage
  • Point differential in the Group Stage
  • Total points scored in the Group Stage
  • Regular season record from the 2022-23 NBA regular season
  • Random drawing (in the unlikely scenario that two or more teams are still tied following the previous tiebreakers)

So, if the Kings and Timberwolves both lost, Golden State would win the series by owning the head-to-head matchup against the lone matching record. But, if all three teams were to end with a 3-1 record through NBA In-Season Tournament games, point differential becomes the decider.

In that scenario, Golden State would need to beat Sacramento by thirteen or more points to win West Group C, with Minnesota facing an even more significant deficit.

As for the Western Conference Wild Card Spot, the Phoenix Suns, currently sitting at 3-1 with a  +34 point-differential, are the heavy favorites to claim that spot, with the Houston Rockets (2-1, +16) and Timberwolves maintaining slim chances.

In a way, it feels like the repeat of last season’s first-round playoffs matchup has set up to be the final decider, even if there are some small complicated routes to be considered.

How does the NBA In-Season Tournament elimination bracket work?

The eight teams, three group leaders, and one wild card per conference are then placed in a single elimination bracket starting with the quarterfinals, played in local markets, on December 4th or 5th.

Those who advance would be scheduled to play at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the semifinals (Dec. 7) and subsequent final (Dec. 9) championship game, with the winner awarded the inaugural NBA Cup.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • Tuesday, November 28th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors** – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PS
  • December 3rd-10th: NBA In-Season Tournament Week (Schedule TBD)
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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