After a month’s worth of group stage games, the stage is set for the knockout portion of the NBA’s regular season.
The Indiana Pacers host the Boston Celtics on Monday at 7:30 p.m., followed by the New Orleans Pelicans against the Sacramento Kings at 10 p.m. Tuesday night will see a pair of group stage rematches, with the New York Knicks playing. The Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30, followed by the visiting Phoenix Suns against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10.
The winners of each of those quarterfinal games will advance to the semifinals on Dec. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with the Eastern Conference teams squaring off at 5 p.m., followed by the Western Conference teams at 9 p.m. The tournament’s championship game — with the winner hoisting the NBA trophy for the first time and earning $500,000 for each player on its roster — is Dec. 9 at 8:30 p.m. (ABC).
As a twist, each of the four quarterfinals features a matchup that was already on the schedule four times this season — meaning all those matchups will now be played five times, one more than the teams typically play in a given campaign.
The 22 teams that did not advance will play one home game and one road game on Dec. 6 and Dec. 8, while the losers of the quarterfinals will play on Dec. 8.
The NBA released the schedule for the other 22 teams Wednesday morning, including two marquee matchups. The Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs — featuring two of the league’s brightest young stars in Anthony Edwards and Victor Wembaniama, and a matchup between Wembaniama and fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert — will be Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Denver Nuggets faced the LA Clippers in a rematch of Denver’s stunning win without Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Jamaal Murray on Sunday.
The Clippers will be back on ESPN on Friday night when they face the Utah Jazz (10). Some other notable games from the Wednesday and Friday slate: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors at Thunder on Friday.