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The Magic And The NBA In-Season Tournament

It is now official that there will be an NBA Cup competition, so let’s look at the Magic and the NBA in-season tournament.

What Is The In-Season Tournament

The inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament begins on November 3rd and with the Championship game on December 9th. It consists of two stages, being “Group Play” and the “Knockout Rounds”. The league has designated Tuesdays and Fridays as “tournament days” throughout November.

Group Play

All 30 teams have been drawn into groups of five. The random draw based within the team’s conference has used a seeding system similar to that employed by FIFA for the World Cup, being based on won-loss records from the 2022-23 regular season.

Group Play games begin on November 3rd and conclude on Tuesday, November 28th. Each team will play one game against each opponent in its group on what will be called “Tournament Nights”. The four Group Play fixtures sees each team play two games at home and two on the road.

If two or more teams are tied within a group, the tie will be decided by the following 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).

Knockout Rounds

The Knockout Rounds will consist of eight teams. The team with the best record in each of the six groups automatically advance to the knockout phase, along with two “wild cards”. The wild card team is the team from each conference that holds the remaining best record in ‘Group Play”, having finished second in its group.

The Knockout Rounds will feature single-elimination games in the Quarterfinals, a win or go home format. These games are to be played on December 4th and 5th.

The four remaining teams will compete for a prize pool and the In-Season Tournament trophy, announced as the NBA Cup. The semi-finals and Championship game will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Each team will play 82 games in the 2023-24 regular season, including those of the Group Play and Knockout Rounds. All games across both stages of the In-Season Tournament will count toward the regular-season standings except the Championship game. 

The Magic And The NBA In-Season Tournament

The Orlando Magic fixture dates are yet to be announced. What is known is that the Magic will play in East Group C against:

  • Boston Celtics (Home)
  • Brooklyn Nets (Road)
  • Toronto Raptors (Home)
  • Chicago Bulls (Road)

Whilst the Celtics are heavy group favourites this is an opportunity for the Magic. They are a team on the rise and get an opportunity to play pressure games. As a young team they lack experience, having played very few (if any) pressure games.

Here is an opportunity to get that experience. If the organisation are serious about making the postseason getting wins in this tournament will help. The team will be able to in some way replicate a playoff type focus. Equally some teams may not have bought into the competition and still not be all-in at this easily part of the season.

There is opportunity for Orlando in this group. Playing Boston in the Amway Center is a bonus. They have undoubted star power and experience, but lost three times last season to Orlando. Brooklyn are a team in flux at this moment. Chicago has some star power but struggled for periods last season. Toronto have lost Fred VanVleet and have a new coach.

Orlando should be all-in on this tournament having seemingly been given a strong chance to progress. The experience of involvement in pressure games can only benefit a team aiming to be a part of the postseason.