NBC Sports

Kerr has funny love-hate relationship with play-in tournament

NBC Sports

As coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr loves the concept of a play-in tournament in the NBA. At least he did on Monday.

If his team makes a scintillating closing run over the final four weeks and moves to sixth place or higher, Kerr’s love in April will turn sour in May.

What, exactly, does Kerr want?

That depends on the calendar and the standings. And Kerr’s sense of humor.

“Because we’re on the outside looking in right now, we’re all very pleased that it exists,” Kerr said before tipoff against the 76ers in Philadelphia. “If I were Dallas or Portland, I’d be really pissed that it existed.”

“If we’re lucky enough to climb up to seventh or eighth, I will blast the play-in tournament and tell the league that it’s crazy.”

Kerr laughed, of course, because those comments were made in jest. Mostly.

The Warriors will run through any postseason window that is open. They rolled into Philly in ninth place, which in a normal season would send them on vacation the minute the regular season ends.

The play-in tournament, instituted last season and retained for this season, provides a playoff opportunity for teams finishing between seventh and 10th place in each conference.

The Trail Blazers entered Monday in sixth place, a coveted spot because it bypasses the play-in tournament. The Mavericks were in seventh, two games behind Portland and one-half game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

The play-in tournament is structured so that the eighth-place team visits the seventh-place team, with the winner of that game earning the No. 7-seed and will face the traditional No. 2 seed.

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The team finishing 10th visits the ninth-place team, with the loser eliminated and victor going on the road to face the loser of the seven-eight game. The winner of that game gets the No. 8-seed and a first-round matchup with the top seed in the conference.

“Right now, being in ninth or 10th, it’s a wonderful idea,” Kerr said.

The coach did, however, make his genuine feelings known.

“We all really want to be in it – everybody,” Kerr said. “This is a great opportunity for us, to try and end the season on a really positive run and get in and get as high a seed as possible. That’s our only goal.”

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