2023/24 NBL Play-In and Playoffs locked in

SIX teams remain alive in the 2023/24 NBL title race with the teams enjoying a 10-day break before Play-In action tips off. Reigning champions Sydney Kings snuck into the Play-In Tournament courtesy of a record-breaking 55-point win over South East Melbourne Phoenix, but will need to defeat four other teams to win a third consecutive title.

While the Kings start off with New Zealand Breakers, the scenario is the same for the team across the Tasman, with the Breakers needing to knock off four of the other five teams in order to lift an unlikely trophy. A shock Round 20 loss saw the Breakers tumble down to sixth on the table, only making it in ahead of Brisbane on percentage.

Tasmania JackJumpers and surprise packets Illawarra Hawks have a lifeline in this year’s finals series, with the winner o their Seeding Match to take on Perth Wildcats in the NBL semi-finals. However it is not doom and gloom for the loser, with that side instead set to take on the winner of the Kings and Breakers for a chance at reaching the final four.

Life is far more cruisy for both minor premiers Melbourne United and second placed Perth Wildcats who finished clear of the rest of the field. United, who boasts a 20-8 record which was three more victories than any other side, could play any of the third to sixth sides depending on results. The Wildcats have less homework to do, as they will take on the winner of the JackJumpers and Hawks in the semi-finals.

The Play-In Tournament are just one-off matches with the home team gaining the home court advantage for the matches. The JackJumpers and Hawks face off at MyState Bank Arena on February 28 from 5:30pm, while the Kings and Breakers go head-to-head later that night at Qudos Bank Arena from 7:30pm. The loser of the former and winner of the latter will lock horns in either Tasmania or Illawarra on March 4.

While those six teams will do battle to try and claim the ultimate glory, the conclusion of Round 20 also marked the end of the road for the remaining four sides, with Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Adelaide 36ers and South East Melbourne Phoenix all eliminated from progressing to the post-season series.

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