The field for the knockout stage is almost set on the final day of group play

The final day of team play in the inaugural NBA in-season tournament saw the scoreboard and tiebreaker drama the league brought months ago.

It moved on to the Eastern Quarterfinals, where the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks will host the wild-card New York Knicks, while the Indiana Pacers will face the Boston Celtics. In the West, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns were both eliminated from Group A, while the New Orleans Pelicans grabbed Group B.

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors are currently playing to decide Group C in the West.

The Celtics entered Tuesday with a simple mandate: beat the Chicago Bulls as hard as humanly possible. With a point differential of zero and a possible three-way tie with the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets, Boston needed a blowout of the Bulls to top the inactive Magic by a +22 edge.

The game started evenly, and then the Celtics continued to build large leads. They were up by 11 at the end of the first quarter, up by 19 at halftime, then pulled off a big third quarter for a 124-97 victory. That 27-point margin carried the Celtics past Orlando.

Meanwhile, the Nets beat the Toronto Raptors, but they finished just behind the Magic.

The Bucks improved their record to 4-0 against a Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat to take East Group B, though the Heat made things difficult at times. Miami held a three-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, but a quick 7-0 run gave Milwaukee the distance it needed.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard had one of their best games yet, combining for 65 points and 14 assists. However, it was Chris Middleton who had the biggest basket:

The Knicks were looking forward to that Bucks-Heat game because a Heat win would have given them the team win. The Knicks improved their point differential to +42 with the win over the Charlotte Hornets, but they had to settle for the Eastern Wild Card.

The Pelicans won West Group B with a loss to the Houston Rockets, needing a 17-point win to advance against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Pacers and Lakers are the first teams to clinch the knockout spots, with both teams finishing 4-0 on Friday. The Pacers featured NBA in-season tourney MVP favorite Tyrus Halliburton in East Group A with dramatic wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, while the Lakers played in an unusually weak West Group A, which featured three of the four Western Conference teams.

That group also benefited the Suns, who won the West wild card by +34 points on Tuesday.

Advancing Teams Dec. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for December 7 and 9 in Las Vegas, with the higher seeds hosting games in the quarterfinals on the 4th and 5th. All games saved for the finals count toward regular season records.

Scores from Friday’s NBA in-season tournament

Boston Celtics 124, Chicago Bulls 97

Cleveland Cavaliers 128, Atlanta Hawks 105

Brooklyn Nets 115, Toronto Raptors 103

New York Knicks 115, Charlotte Hornets 91

Milwaukee Bucks 131, Miami Heat 124

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Minnesota Timberwolves, 106, Oklahoma City Thunder, 103

Dallas Mavericks 119, Houston Rockets 115

NBA In-Season Tournament Standings

All games, except the championship game, count toward regular season records. Tiebreakers are in order: head-to-head record, point differential, total points, 2022-23 regular-season record and a random drawing.

Eastern group A

1. Indiana Pacers: 4-0, +39 (winning team)
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: 3-1, +29 (eliminated)
3. Philadelphia 76ers: 2-2, +9 (eliminated)
4. Atlanta Hawks: 1-3, -32 (eliminated)
5. Detroit Pistons: 0-4, -45 (eliminated)

Eastern Group B

1. Milwaukee Bucks: 4-0, +46 (winning team)
2. New York Knicks: 3-1, +42 (wild card)
3. Miami Heat: 2-2, +4 (eliminated)
4. Charlotte Hornets: 1-3, -54 (eliminated)
5. Washington Wizards: 0-4, -38 (eliminated)

Eastern group c

1. Boston Celtics: 3-1, +27 (win team)
2. Orlando Magic: 3-1, +22 (eliminated)
3. Brooklyn Nets: 3-1, +20 (eliminated)
4. Toronto Raptors: 1-3, -21 (eliminated)
5. Chicago Bulls: 0-4, -48 (eliminated)

West Group A

1. Los Angeles Lakers: 4-0, +74 (winning team)
2. Phoenix Suns: 3-1, +34 (wild card)
3. Utah Jazz: 2-2, -13 (eliminated)
4. Portland Trail Blazers: 1-3, -39 (eliminated)
5. Memphis Grizzlies: 0-4, -56 (eliminated)

West Group B

1. New Orleans Pelicans: 3-1, +33 (winning team)
2. Houston Rockets: 2-2, +12 (eliminated)
3. Denver Nuggets: 2-2, -10 (eliminated)
4. Dallas Mavericks: 2-2, -14 (eliminated)
5. Los Angeles Clippers: 1-3, -25 (eliminated)

Western group c

1. Sacramento Kings: 3-0, +29
2. Golden State Warriors: 2-1, +5
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: 3-1, 0 (eliminated)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder: 1-3, +24 (eliminated)
5. San Antonio Spurs: 0-4, -58 (eliminated)

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