How the NBA Playoffs Work

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Basketball fans across the nation are keeping their eye on the ball right now as NBA teams attempt to dribble their way to the NBA Championship. No matter what sort of ball your team of choice competes with, playoffs can be tricky to understand in any sport. Here, we are breaking down the journey teams make through the NBA playoffs.

What Teams Make the NBA Playoffs?

A total of 16 teams make the transition from regular season to playoff glory. The division of teams by region is a bit easier to comprehend in the NBA than in other sports, with simply an Eastern and Western conference based on geographic location. The top eight teams in each conference based upon win-loss records secure a playoff spot and make their way through four best-of-seven series, with only one team emerging victorious.

First Round

Round One of the NBA playoffs shaves 16 teams down to just eight. Matchups are based upon seedings, or rankings based on the final regular-season standings. As each conference heads into the playoffs, the team with the best record plays the team with the worst, the team with the second best plays the team with the second worst, and so on. (1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5). The four teams that claim victory in the series move on to the Conference Semifinals.

Conference Semifinals

The Conference Semifinals take the battle from eight teams down to four. This round features a matchup between the 1-8 and 4-5 winners as well as between the 2-7 and 3-6 winners. A win in the Conference Semifinals means a trip to the Conference Finals, the last round before the coveted NBA Finals.

Conference Finals

The third round and the last prior the the Championship Series consists of the final two teams from each conference playing one another for a shot at a Championship victory. The last team left standing from both the Western and Eastern Conferences will gear up to go head-to-head in the most sought-after series of the season.

NBA Finals

During the grand finale of the season, the NBA Finals, the top team in each conference will pour their blood sweat and tears into securing the Championship. Home-court advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record. The winning team receives some hefty hardware (think: the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and big shiny rings) as well as the best bragging rights an NBA team could ask for.

NBA Playoff Suites

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