There are a total of 16 games in the NBA playoffs. 8 games in the first round, 4 in the second round, 2 in the conference finals, and 1 in the NBA Finals.
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How the NBA Playoffs Work
The NBA playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament held after the NBA regular season to determine the league’s champion. The tournament consists of four rounds: the first three rounds are the best-of-seven, while the Finals are a best-of-seven series. Each series is played in a 2–2–1–1–1 format, meaning that one team will host games one, two, five, and seven (if necessary), while the other team will host games three, four, and six (if necessary).
The Different Types of NBA Playoffs
During the NBA’s 74-year history, there have been several playoff formats used.
The most common format is the current one, in which the top eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs.
However, there have been other playoff formats as well, most notably the NBA’s now-defunct divisional playoff system.
Under that system, which was used from 1967-1969 and again from 1980-1984, the field of playoff qualifiers was expanded to include more than just the top eight teams.
In the divisional playoff era, teams were still divided into two conferences, but those conferences were themselves split into two divisions each.
The four division winners would automatically qualify for the playoffs, as would the next four best teams in each conference regardless of division.
This system resulted in some strange scenarios in which a team with a losing record could make the playoffs while a team with a winning record missed out.
The History of the NBA Playoffs
The National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament held after the NBA’s regular season to determine the league’s champion. The tournament was first held in 1947, and the winner of the tournament receives the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.
The playoff format used today was introduced in 1984, when the NBA expanded its playoff system from 10 teams to 16 teams. The top four teams in each conference (the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference) qualify for the playoffs. The four division winners in each conference are seeded one through four, based on their regular season record, with the remaining teams seeded fifth through eighth.
The first three rounds of the playoffs are played within each conference, with the fourth and final round (the NBA Finals) featuring a matchup between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference champions. In order to ensure that all four division winners receive home-court advantage in at least one round of the playoffs, two “play-in” games were added in 2020: The seventh and eighth seeds in each conference will play each other in a one-game playoff, with the winner advancing to face the second seed in their conference.
In total, there are 16 teams that qualify for the NBA playoffs: eight from each conference.
How Many Games Are in the NBA Playoffs?
The NBA Playoffs are a best-of-seven series.
How Many Teams Make the NBA Playoffs?
The NBA playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament annually held after the conclusion of the NBA regular season. The tournament winner receives the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Seeds are ranked according to each team’s record. The tournament bracket is made up of 16 teams, 8 from the Western Conference and 8 from the Eastern Conference.
What Are the NBA Playoff Seeding Rules?
To seed the NBA Playoffs, the league uses a set of rules that take into account each team’s record, strength of schedule, and divisional standings. The seeding rules are as follows:
The top eight seeds in each Conference are awarded to the eight teams with the best records.
If two or more teams have the same record, the following tiebreakers are used, in order:
– Head-to-head record. If the teams split their season series, or if they only played each other once, this tiebreaker is ignored.
– Divisional record. If the teams are in different divisions, this tiebreaker is ignored.
– Record against common opponents. If the teams have played different numbers of common opponents, or if they only played each other once, this tiebreaker is ignored.
– Record in conference games.
– Record against playoff teams in own conference. If neither team has played any playoff teams in their own conference yet, this tiebreaker is ignored.
– Record against playoff teams in opposite conference. If neither team has played any playoff teams in the opposite conference yet, this tiebreaker is ignored.
– Coin toss (two teams) or drawing of lots (three or more teams).
How Do Home-Court Advantage and the NBA Playoffs Work?
In the NBA, the playoffs are a best-of-seven series between the top eight teams in each conference. The team with the better regular-season record receives home-court advantage.
The first two games of the series are played at the team with home-court advantage’s home venue, and the following two games are played at the other team’s home venue. If the series is tied 2–2, then the next two games are played back-to-back at each team’s home venue. This format is used for all seven games in a best-of-seven series.
NBA playoff series were originally best-of-five, meaning that a team only needed to win three games to advance; this was changed to best-of-seven in 1933.
What Happens if There’s a Tie in the NBA Playoffs?
The NBA Playoffs are a best-of-seven series. If a team wins four games, they advance to the next round. If the series is tied at two games apiece, then the teams play a seventh and final game to determine who advances.
How Do the NBA Playoffs Work if There’s an Odd Number of Teams?
The NBA playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament annually held after the conclusion of the NBA regular season. Traditionally, the playoffs began in late April or early May.
In a standard year, the playoff field consists of 8 teams in each conference: The three division winners and the five best non-division-winning teams. But if there is an odd number of teams in a particular conference, then one team in that conference will get a first-round bye.
How Do the NBA Playoffs Work if There’s an Even Number of Teams?
Even though there are an odd number of teams in the NBA, there are an equal number of playoff series every year. This is because each playoff series is a best-of-seven format, meaning that the team with the better record must win four games before the other team can win three.
A common question is if the NBA would ever consider switching to a best-of-five format in order to make things more fair. After all, four games is a lot to ask of any team, even if they do have a better record.
The answer is that the NBA will never switch to a best-of-five format for the playoffs. There are two main reasons for this. First, four games is seen as the perfect amount to crown a true champion. Second, and more importantly, television contracts are structured in such a way that networks would lose a lot of money if the NBA switched to a best-of-five format.
In other words, don’t expect the NBA playoffs to change anytime soon.