Wiedmer: If the NBA play-in format doesn't dethrone the Lakers, they just might repeat

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

I'm still not exactly sure how it works. And I'm pretty sure it will never work this way again if the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers get knocked out of this quirky NBA Playoffs play-in tourney this week, taking television titan LeBron James with them.

But for now, before the first favorite is felled, I'm kind of excited to watch this opening act, which begins Tuesday night at 6:30 on TNT with the Indiana Pacers hosting the Charlotte Hornets, followed by Washington at reeling Boston around 9.

So just what is this play-in tournament the NBA's concocted and just how much chance is there that LeBron's Lakers are hitting the beach and rediscovering their golf games by this weekend?

Well, the format goes something like this, beginning in the East: Seeded seventh, the Celtics will host the eighth-seeded Wizards with the 9th seeded Pacers hosting the 10th seeded Hornets.