Last Updated on November 18, 2020

The NBA has finally released the tentative schedule for the 2020-21 season and it’s a bit complicated. Even though it’s NBA Draft day and all eyes are on LaMelo Ball, let’s break down the upcoming schedule and discuss the implications for teams.

First things first, let’s look at some of the big dates for the upcoming season. Of course, it’s important to remember that these dates are tentative and subject to change. If we have learned anything over the last eight months it’s that nothing is set in stone.


Key Dates for the 2020-21 Season

  • Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games
  • Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: First half of regular season
  • March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break
  • March 11-May 16, 2021: Second half of regular season
  • May 18-21, 2021: Play-in tournament
  • May 22-July 22, 2021: NBA Playoffs


The NBA is going to release the first half of the schedule but wait on the second half of the year. The league is holding off on releasing the full schedule at once in anticipation of cancellations and postponed games due to COVID-19 breakouts. As we are seeing with the NFL and college football, sports that are not in a bubble are bound to have cancellations and postponements.

Although the dates and times of games are still up in the air, each team knows who they will be playing, where they will have to travel, and how many times they will play each team. The NBA released a matrix that breaks down the full schedule. Each team will play teams in their conference three times and teams in the other conference twice.

It’s also worth noting that the NBA is proceeding with a play-in tournament. The Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies played for the eighth seed in the bubble earlier this year, but this play-in tournament will be a much bigger affair.

The seventh and eighth seeds in each conference will play each other for the seventh seed. The loser will play the winner of the ninth vs. 10th seed game. In short, the seventh and eighth place teams in each conference need to win one game to secure a playoff spot while the ninth and 10th place teams need to win two.


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