Tonight is the final night of action for the In-Season Tournament Group Stage. The Cleveland Cavaliers will conclude their four-game set with a home game against the Atlanta Hawks. Win, and the Cavs could advance to the Knockout Stage; lose and they will be eliminated.
The Tournament is brand new this season, so all of the complicated scenarios are definitionally unprecedented. To help you out, we're going to walk through a series of questions and answers about the tournament and what could happen tonight, including every potential path to the Cavaliers advancing.
What is the In-Season Tournament?
Just in case you've missed it, here's a quick primer on the In-Season Tournament. The NBA has added it this season to bring some excitement and stakes to the early part of the NBA season. All 30 NBA teams are sorted into six "groups" of five teams each based on where they finished in the standings last season. There are three groups in the East and three groups in the West.
Each team plays the other four teams in their group to determine a "Group Winner"; all six group winners will advance to an eight-team Knockout Stage, with one "Wild Card" winner also advancing from each conference. Those eight teams will then compete in a single-elimination bracket to crown a winner, with the final four playing in Las Vegas and the two finalists each taking home a cash prize for every player and coach.