NBA Play-In Game Schedule 2023: Date, Time, & Channel Info Heat vs Hawks, Lakers vs Twolves, Bulls vs Raptors, Thunder vs Pelicans
The schedule, dates, times, and summaries for the 2023 NBA play-in games are detailed below. The 2023 NBA play-in games will be a wonderful start to what should be a postseason filled with chaos, upsets, and excitement.
NBA Play-In Games Schedule
There was no better proof that the NBA play-in games have immense value than seeing the intensity in a few of the regular season finales. In a tight race for playoff positioning in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, a handful of matchups resulted in teams cracking under pressure.
The Pelicans versus Timberwolves and Clippers versus Suns games were two prime examples of this, as Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson got into a verbal altercation that resulted in Gobert punching Anderson, while Jaden McDaniels punched a wall and broke his hand.
Further, Mason Plumlee and Bones Hyland got face-to-face with each other during the Los Angeles Clippers’ matchup with Phoenix.
While many believe that 82 games is plenty enough to decide the final two teams in either conference, the NBA play-in games have helped mitigate tanking since its inception. Check out the 2023 NBA play-in games and a brief overview of what we can expect below.
Tuesday, April 11th
No. 8 Atlanta Hawks at No. 7 Miami Heat – 7:30pm EST, TNT
Despite rattling off four wins in their past five games, the Miami Heat were unable to overtake the Brooklyn Nets for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Now, Miami needs to win either this game or the next one, which will be against the winner of Chicago versus Toronto, if it wants to wiggle into the playoffs.
Atlanta dropped its final two games but still remained in eighth place; thus, it is not a win-or-go-home scenario for the Hawks quite yet. If they fail to beat Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, they will be tasked with winning against the Bulls or Raptors at home to secure eighth place and face Milwaukee in a seven-game series.
No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – 10:00pm EST, TNT
Minnesota somehow still won its last game of the regular season, even though Jaden McDaniels broke his hand punching a wall, and Rudy Gobert punched Kyle Anderson. Now, the Timberwolves will be without McDaniels and Gobert for their Tuesday night matchup versus the red-hot Lakers, giving them an even harder mountain to climb to find themselves in a seven-game series. The locker room and team chemistry are in complete disarray; however, crazier things have happened.
Los Angeles enters this matchup against the Timberwolves having won nine of its past 11 games. Further, the Lakers have the second-best record since the All-Star break, proving that the moves they made at the trade deadline were massively important. Every key player for the Lakers is healthy, giving them a fantastic chance to secure seventh place and battle the Grizzlies in the first round.
Wednesday, April 12th
No. 10 Chicago Bulls at No. 9 Toronto Raptors – 7:00pm EST, ESPN
Chicago has struggled for most of the year, but its defense has been much improved from last season and its offense has been coming along since bringing in Patrick Beverley. Beverley may not contribute much in the form of scoring, but his presence and leadership have helped Chicago immensely. The Bulls are in a do-or-die situation on the road against a hard-nosed Toronto team that also made a key late-season acquisition of its own.
Since the All-Star break, Toronto has played well over .500 basketball, going 13-10. It turns out that acquiring center Jakob Poeltl was a fantastic move. Toronto is still having issues with its guard play, but if that turns around, it could be a tough out in a seven-game series.
No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans – 9:30pm EST, ESPN
By losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the last game of the 2022-23 regular season, the New Orleans Pelicans fell to ninth place, forcing them to win this matchup against Oklahoma City and then beat the loser of Minnesota versus Los Angeles. The Pels were in a similar position last season (2021-22); they let their defense carry them all the way to Game Six against the No. 1 seeded Suns before finally being sent home.
Oklahoma City making the play-in games this season without its 2022 first-rounder Chet Holmgren is an impressive feat; however, it should not be too unexpected, given the gigantic leap that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took. The Thunder finished in tenth in the Western Conference and will have a brutal battle from this point, as they will be forced to beat New Orleans and then the loser of Minnesota and Los Angeles just to make the first round.
Friday, April 14th
Winner of Bulls/Raptors at Loser of Hawks/Heat – 7:00/7:30pm EST, TNT or ESPN
TNT will be airing the NBA play-in game between the winner of the Bulls and Raptors game versus the loser of the Hawks and Heat. This game will start at either 7:00 or 7:30pm EST.
Winner of Thunder/Pelicans at Loser of Lakers/Timberwolves – 9:30/10:00pm EST, TNT or ESPN
Following the first NBA play-in game that starts a few hours earlier, the winner of the Thunder and Pelicans and the loser of the Lakers and Timberwolves will battle at either 9:30pm or 10:00pm on ESPN.
For more 2023 NBA play-in game (and playoff game) information, head over to the Lineups YouTube page, where we give our betting picks, predictions, game previews, and more.