Format of NBA Playoffs and NBA Playoffs in 2023
By Yvonne
2022-11-07

The National Basketball Association's postseason competition for the 2021–2022 season was known as the 2022 NBA playoffs. The 2022 NBA Finals concluded on June 16 and marked the culmination of the playoffs, which began on April 16. For the first time since the COVID-19 epidemic forced two postponements in 2020 and 2021, the playoffs also resumed their typical April–June schedule in 2019.

Format of NBA Playoffs

In the playoffs, eight clubs from each conference took part. Based on winning percentage, the top six teams in each conference automatically advanced to the playoffs; the order of seeding for those teams was also determined by winning percentage. NBA normal tiebreaker guidelines were applied if two or more teams have the same record.

The teams finishing seventh through tenth in each conference will compete in a play-in tournament, according to a system agreed by the NBA Board of Governors for the 2021–22 season. A "double-chance" game between the teams in seventh and eighth place was played, with the victor earning the seventh seed in the playoffs. To determine the 8-seed in the playoffs, the losing team subsequently faced the winner of the elimination game between the teams in ninth and tenth place. The NBA playoff structure then continued as usual.

NBA Playoffs

The brackets for each conference were fixed; no seeds were changed. All rounds used best-of-seven series; after one team won four games, the series was over, and they moved on to the following round. With regard to hosting, every round—including the NBA Finals—used a 2-2-1-1-1 structure.

The higher-seeded club received a home-court advantage in the conference playoffs (number one being the highest). For the NBA Finals, conference seedings were discarded; instead, the team with the best regular season record received home-court advantage. If necessary, ties were broken based on head-to-head record, then intra-conference records.

The Phoenix Suns were the first group to formally secure a playoff spot on March 9, 2022. The San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Pelicans earned spots in the first-stage play-in tournament on April 5, making them the final two teams to qualify for playoff play.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were demoted to the play-in round when the Denver Nuggets, who had previously qualified as the sixth seed in the Western Conference, were the final club to do so on April 7. Division titles are listed in the tables below, however they have no impact on seeding. 

When do the NBA playoffs in 2023 begin?

  • After the regular season and the play-in tournament, the playoffs will begin.
  • On Sunday, April 9, the NBA regular season concludes. The play-in tournament begins on Tuesday, April 11, and ends on Friday, April 15, two days later. The playoffs begin on Saturday, April 15, the following day. The first games of each of the eight first-round contests will all take place on April 15 or April 16.
  • On May 1-2, the Conference Semi-Finals are slated to begin (possibly April 29-30).
  • The Conference Finals will begin on May 16–17. (possibly May 14-15).
  • The NBA Finals begin on June 1 and may go through June 18 in 2022.
  1. June 1 is the first game.
  2. Second game: Sunday, June 4.
  3. Wednesday, June 7, is the date of the third game.
  4. Fourth game: June 9th.
  5. 5th game: June 12 (if neccessary).
  6. June 15 is the date of Game 6. (if neccessary).
  7. Sunday, June 18, is Game 7. (if neccessary).

Which teams advance to the playoffs?

  • Twenty of the league's 30 teams advance to the playoffs or the play-in round. Four of these teams will be eliminated in the play-in tournament.
  • Eight clubs from each of the two conferences and sixteen of the 30 league teams advance to the playoffs. Eight first-round matchups result from this. There are no wildcard teams or first-round byes.

What kind of structure do the NBA Playoffs have?

Seeds 7–10 will compete in the play-in tournament according to conference. One game will be played between seeds 7 and 8. The victor advances to the postseason. For the last playoff spot, the loser faces the victor of the match between Seeds 9 and 10.
There are four rounds in the playoffs.
Every round's matchup is a best 4 out of 7 series: HHAAHAH