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In-season Sports Tournament

NBA In-season Tournament 2023: Latest Standings, Predictions After Nov. 24 Group Play

NBA In-season Tournament 2023: Latest Standings, Predictions After Nov. 24 Group Play

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Aaron Holiday #0 high fives Jalen Green #4 of the Houston Rockets during the game against the Denver Nuggets during the In-Season Tournament on November 24, 2023 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)

Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic delivered the latest surprises in the 2023 NBA in-season tournament on Friday.

Houston used a win to eliminate the Denver Nuggets from the competition, while Orlando handed the Boston Celtics their first defeat of the event.

Houston and Orlando are now on top of their respective groups as the opening stage of the tournament hits its final week.

The results were shocking, but nothing was decided in the four groups without a winner, though. The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers secured first in their respective groups on Tuesday.

Orlando, Houston, the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans sit in first place in their four groups after Friday.

The three group winners and the best second-place finisher from each conference advance to the quarterfinals.

Updated Standings

East Group A

1. Indiana (4-0)

2. Cleveland (2-1)

3. Philadelphia (2-2)

4. Atlanta (1-2)

5. Detroit (0-4)

East Group B

1. Milwaukee (3-0)

2. New York (2-1)

3. Miami (2-1)

4. Charlotte (1-2)

5. Washington (0-4)

East Group C

1. Orlando (3-1)

2. Boston (2-1)

3. Brooklyn (2-1)

4. Toronto (1-2)

5. Chicago (0-3)

West Group A

1. Los Angeles Lakers (4-0)

2. Phoenix (3-1)

3. Utah (2-2)

4. Portland (1-3)

5. Memphis (0-4)

West Group B

1. New Orleans (3-1)

2. Houston (2-1)

3. Denver (2-2)

4. Dallas (1-2)

5. Los Angeles Clippers (1-3)

West Group C

1. Sacramento (3-0)

2. Minnesota (2-1)

3. Golden State (2-1)

4. Oklahoma City (1-2)

5. San Antonio (0-4)

Houston’s Upset Over Denver Does More For Other Western Conference Teams

Houston got rid of one of the top contenders for the in-season tournament title with its win over Denver.

The Rockets moved to 2-1 and dropped the Nuggets to 2-2, but they probably will not be the biggest beneficiary of the victory.

That honor would go to the Pelicans, who sit on top of West Group B with a 3-1 record.

The Rockets need to beat Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday to cash in on their head-to-head tiebreaker with New Orleans. The Pelicans will advance as the group winner if Houston loses to Dallas.

Dallas does not have anything to play for with regards to the in-season tournament, but at full strength, it can challenge Houston and its two superstars could dominate the matchup.

Denver’s defeat also allowed the other contenders in the West to feel more confident about their chances to win the title.

The Lakers are already through thanks to a perfect record in West Group A. The Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors are still alive to advance as well.

Phoenix is currently on top of the wild-card standings as the best second-place team, but it can’t advance its position. Golden State plays Sacramento on Tuesday and Minnesota takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A majority of those teams would be an underdog against a full-strength Denver team, so they all welcomed the Nuggets’ downfall.

East Bracket Looks Wide Open

No one expected Indiana to win East Group A and for Orlando to be on top of East Group B when the in-season tournament began.

Orlando put Boston’s tournament status under threat with its head-to-head win on Friday.

The Celtics are not the best team in the hunt for the wild-card spot in the East at the moment either. The New York Knicks hold an edge over Boston and the Cleveland Cavaliers on point differential.

Boston’s potential elimination and the Philadelphia 76ers already being out of the event opened up the East bracket.

Only one of the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat or New York can advance as the East Group B winner. The second-place team in that group will fight with Boston, Cleveland and Brooklyn for the final quarterfinal spot if Orlando remains on top of East Group B.

That means we could see at least two new faces in elimination games from the East, which would be a welcome sight after seeing Boston, Milwaukee and others dominate the conference in recent years.

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