How do the NBA Playoffs Work? NBA Playoffs Explained |

How do the NBA Playoffs Work? NBA Playoffs Explained |

How do the NBA Playoffs Work?

When someone thinks of basketball, the first thing that comes to mind is the National Basketball Association. It is a top tournament, attracting the attention of millions of sports betting fans. If you consider all phases of the competition, a total of about 2,500 matches are played in a year. This number of encounters allows you to study participants, strategies, styles, traits, coaches’ philosophies, statistical parameters, individual performance, and more. That is everything needed for appropriate analysis and NBA betting. But do you know that most of the profitable bets fall on the final stage of the league? And this comes as no surprise. After all, that’s where most of the exciting events take place – the best of the best come together to clash with each other in a fight for the main title! And to bet on the stage successfully, you need to have a clear-cut answer to the question – how do the NBA playoffs work? So now, shortly before the current season’s main denouement of the most prestigious basketball league on the planet, let’s get into this in detail!

What are playoffs in basketball?

The postseason tournament is the centerpiece of any basketball competition. It has its own unique statistical characteristics that distinguish it from the regular season. As in any sport, in basketball, it’s the decisive phase of a championship, usually followed by a round-robin tournament where the contenders compete according to the Olympic system. A winner of a defined number of games – there can be 3, 4, etc. – advances to the next stage, while a loser drops out of a tournament race. 

NBA playoffs explained

As per general definition, the NBA playoffs are an annual postseason elimination tournament. But in order to get the gist, let’s start from the very beginning. 

According to their geographic location, clubs are divided into Western and Eastern conferences, with three divisions each. The former has Pacific, North, and Southwest; the latter has Central, Southeast, and Atlantic. The championship begins with the regular season. All competitors have the same number of matchups. Each squad plays four matches against the conference opponents (two home and two away matchups). 

Based on the results of the NBA regular championship, the playoff competitors are paired off to play the best-of-seven series in the home and away format, according to the Olympic system. 

In the first round, the first-ranked team in the regular season plays the eighth seed. The second one in the conference plays with the seventh seed. The third squad faces the sixth one, and the fourth competitor meets the fifth one. 

The contender with the higher rank plays the first two games of the series at home, the third and fourth ones – away; next, the fifth, if it is required, – at home. The sixth game is away; the seventh is at home. This is the same format that is followed in all competitions without exception, from the first round to the finals.

The first-round series winners take part in the conference semifinals, again in accordance with the starting seeding – the highest seed faces the lowest. The winners of the semifinals encounter in the conference finals, determining the top teams in the East and West.

How do NBA finals work?

The victors of the East and West meet in the final series, where the home-court advantage also goes to the club with the higher starting seed. If, say, the 3rd team in the West and the 5th team in the East meet in the finals, the first two games of the decisive stage and the seventh one, if required, will take place on the court of the West rep.

How are playoff teams determined in the NBA?

The clubs, which score the most points in their divisions, are crowned the regular-season champions and automatically advance to the postseason stage. The rest of the competitors are ranked based on the difference in wins and losses in the regular round. The top five clubs also move forward to the next round. From 2021, the last four spots are determined in an additional play-in round. As a result, eight clubs from each conference get into the postseason tournament. So, if you’re wondering how many teams in total go to the playoffs in the NBA, the answer is simple – sixteen. 

NBA playoff seeding rules

Seeding 1 through 6 is based on each club’s place in the standings during the regular season. If two contenders have the same number of wins and losses, standard tie-break rules are applied. 

The seventh and eighth numbers are determined by play-in round results. The 7th ranked club will compete with the 8th one – the winner will receive the 7th number. The 9th ranked competitor at home will face the 10th one – the loser will be eliminated, and the winner will go to the court of the loser of the 7th vs. 8th place match. The winner of the matchup between the loser of spots 7-8 and the winner of spots 9-10 will receive the 8th seed.

How many playoff games are there in the NBA?

Each series is played according to a best-of-seven principle, which means that the contender with four wins first advances to the next round. In total, a squad has to win a minimum of 16 games to gain the championship triumph, with the highest number of games a team can have is 30 (two play-in and 28 play-off confrontations). 

Postseason of current tournament edition 

The 2021/2022 regular season has come to an end, and the strongest participants are going to meet in the postseason stage, which starts as early as April 16 with the traditional best-of-seven series. As usual, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals of conferences are slated to be played. The decisive battle will feature this year’s strongest reps of the West and the East! The last encounter of the 2021/22 edition is scheduled for June 19, 2022. 

To date, in the play-offs, only six pairs are known:

  • Philadelphia vs. Toronto
  • Milwaukee vs. Chicago
  • Boston vs. Brooklyn
  • Dallas vs. Utah
  • Golden State vs. Denver
  • Memphis vs. Minnesota 

Miami and Phoenix are waiting for the completion of the play-in to know their opponents. 

The Phoenix Suns have the best regular-season results and quite predictably have the highest chance of success. According to analysts, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Golden State can provide tough competition to the main favorite. Who is able to take a lead this time? What do you think? Make your predictions and place your winning bets with the best odds on!

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