The In-Season Tournament tips off tonight and the Portland Trail Blazers are taking part of the first night of action against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Here’s a look at each of the courts each team will use for the tournament:
Here’s a look at each game in Group A play:
The Blazers vs. Grizzlies game is the only one in Group A play tonight, but games will pick up next Friday in the second wave of games. The Blazers will be off next Friday, but will play in the next three tournament days on Nov. 14, 17 and 21.
Here’s a look at how each team has looked to start the season:
While sample sizes are small, the first week or so of the regular season has provided a sneak preview into what each team will offer coming into the tournament.
Memphis Grizzlies (at Blazers, Fri. Nov. 3, 7 p.m. PT)
The Grizzlies are the only team yet to win a game in the young season so far. Without Ja Morant (suspension) and Steven Adams (season-ending knee surgery), the Grizzlies have struggled mightily out of the gates. The team is still adjusting to life without Dillon Brooks, who has started off hot with the Houston Rockets.
However, as the No. 2 team in the West last season, it’s hard to count the Grizzlies out just yet. Perhaps the In-Season Tournament is what this team needs.
Utah Jazz (vs. Blazers, Tue. Nov. 14, 6 p.m. PT)
The Jazz is also among the league’s struggling teams. At 2-4 going into the tournament, the Jazz isn’t expected to be a major threat in Group A. The only wins Utah has had come against the winless Grizzlies and a two-point victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at home.
Even though the Jazz is one of the league’s rebuilds, Utah has proven to be a scrappy team and there’s potential for the team to play spoiler in a few of these tournament games.
Los Angeles Lakers (at Blazers, Fri. Nov. 17, 7 p.m. PT)
The Lakers come into the tournament with a 3-2 mark, winning all three home games and losing both times on the road. Each of their wins comes by five points or fewer, and they picked up an overtime victory against the Clippers on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen how much the Lakers will prioritize the In-Season Tournament, considering their goal with LeBron James on board will always be a championship in June instead of December.
The Lakers will be a favorite to come out of this group and be one of the final teams in Las Vegas, but if they don’t put their foot on the gas, the Blazers and other teams could play spoiler.
Phoenix Suns (vs. Blazers, Tue. Nov. 21, 6 p.m. PT)
The Suns could also be a favorite for Group A, but the team has shown its hubris early in the season with a 2-3 record. Two of those losses came at home this week to the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs, while the other came against the Lakers last week.
If Bradley Beal and Devin Booker remain out with their injuries, the Suns are not much of a threat outside of Kevin Durant. And given the higher stakes of the tournament, teams could take advantage of that if the backcourt duo remains out. But if they return soon, Phoenix should be one of the top teams in the group and in the league.