The NBA playoffs will be slightly different this season for the seventh through tenth seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Since the Indiana Pacers are currently the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture, here is a look at what the whole new play-in tournament looks like.
1.) When is it?
The play-in tournament, according to NBA.com, will begin on Tuesday, May 18 and will last until May 22. That date is just under two weeks away, and only two days after the Pacers play the Raptors on May 16 to close out the regular season.
2.) How many teams will be in the play-in tournament?
There will be eight teams playing in the tournament, and four from each conference battling within each other; the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds in both the Eastern and Western conferences, according to NBA.com.
3.) Who plays against who?
According to NBA.com, the No. 9 and No. 10 seeds in each conference will play each other, and the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds play the other game.
The Nos. 7-8 winner automatically becomes the seventh-seed in the playoffs, and will play the No. 2 seed in the first round.
The loser of the 9-10 game is eliminated, and the winner plays the loser of the 7-8 game, with the winner grabbing the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. They'll play the No. 1 seed in the first round.
Essentially the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds only have to win one game to insert themselves into the playoffs, while the bottom two seeds have to win twice to make it.
4.) Why have this and where did it come from?
The NBA added the play-in tournament to give more teams an opportunity to get into the postseason, and keep the interest level high for as many franchises as possible down the home stretch.
For instance, the Indiana Pacers would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards are currently the No. 10 seed and would be in the same boat. Both teams, as of today, would be in the play-in tournament.
The excitement as the regular season finishes up will be like no other season. Just like fellow superstar Westbrook, Stephen Curry's Warriors are currently out of the top eight seeds as the ninth seed in the Western Conference, and the NBA and its fans would, of course, love to have Curry in the postseason.
According to NBA.com, the decision to have the play-in tournament was voted unanimously by the NBA's Board of Governors on a one-year basis.
5.) What are owners saying about it?
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told ESPN that the decision was a mistake. Cuban said, "But the compression of so many games into so few days makes this an enormous mistake," he told ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
6.) What are players saying?
LeBron James on Monday night had strong words about the NBA's decision to have a play-in tournament after the Raptors beat the Lakers. James spoke candidly not in favor of the tournament.
The video below is captured by Ballislife.
7.) What does it mean for the Pacers?
Ironically, the Pacers are one of the teams that could benefit from the decision to have the tournament the most. While they are only half a game behind the Hornets for the eighth seed, they could just as well finish as the ninth or tenth seed.
In a typical year, they, of course, would not make the postseason. Pacers fans now have a lot more to be excited about down the stretch of the season and a lot more to be excited about with a possible playoff appearance on the table.