The NBA has been at the forefront of professional sports for decades and continues to grow in popularity. Every year there are more fans! So what’s it like being an NBA fan during the playoffs and how exactly does it work?
The Qualification of Teams in the Playoff Series (or Playoff)
Qualifying for the NBA Playoffs depends on a higher win rate for a team than its counterparts. The seed will be awarded to the club with the best score and win percentage in each conference. Teams that don’t get a top spot should try to finish the regular season well. Logically, the franchises that qualify for the playoffs are those that have had the best results throughout the regular season.
If you have dreams of watching an NBA playoff game, you must comply with the regulations in place, namely apply for ESTA and be up to date with your COVID vaccinations.
The total number of teams in the NBA
The NBA is made up of 30 teams organized into 2 conferences from 15 franchises.
The regular season is divided into 2 conferences EAST and WEST and each team’s position within this league is determined by its conference.
The Eastern Conference consists of 15 clubs. The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors play in the Atlantic Division. The Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks play in the Central Division. Finally, the Southeast Division is home to the Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, and Washington Wizards.
The Western Conference is divided into 3 divisions: Southwest, Pacific and Northwest. The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs play in the Southwest Division. The Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers are part of the Pacific Division. The Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers play in the Northwest Division.
The winners of the qualifying tournament
The winners of the qualifying tournaments must be determined before the start of the playoffs.
The winners of the games qualify for the playoffs. This event allows lower ranked teams to qualify, providing additional entertainment for fans like us.
The number of NBA playoff games
A maximum of 7 games can be played during the playoffs. Due to the NBA’s “Best of Seven” structure, these playoffs can last from four to seven games. When calculating the whole tournament, there can be a minimum of 60 games and a maximum of 105 games.
The NBA pre-tournament 2022
The NBA introduced a new format with the 2020-21 season. Each year before the NBA Playoffs, the league hosts a four-team play-in competition. The 4 teams involved are those from each conference who place 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th. The play-in tournament is then a new concept where the ninth- and tenth-place teams at the end of the various conferences can participate in the play-offs if they win the play-ins.
Prior to the introduction of this system, when the regular season ended and the seeding was determined, any team below eighth place was automatically eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Thanks to the play-ins, the ninth- and tenth-placed teams have more opportunities to advance to the next phase of the event.
The NBA’s 2022 play-in tournament format
A play-in tournament takes place before the play-offs. This warm-up tournament begins with the eighth and seventh seedlings from each conference going head-to-head in a single game known as the warm-up game.
The winner of this match gets the seventh seed. Numbers 9 and 10 will face off in the second game of the pre-season tournament, which is next on the schedule, dubbed the “Nine-Ten Game”. The winner of the “nine-ten game” meets the loser of the “seven-eight game”, and the winner of the last game of the make-up tournament will be the 8th seed.
The NBA playoff system
Each conference features a local playoff tournament that pits the qualifiers against each other before the top teams compete in the conference finals. The playoffs are played in the best of seven sets, which means that in a series between two teams, the first team to manage to win 4 games is the winner who advances to the next stage. The team that loses its game will be disqualified from the competition.
The first round of the playoffs is crucial for any team looking to lift the championship trophy at the end of the season. The top seeds in each conference play against the bottom seeds in a best-of-seven series. The format of the series is 2-2-1-1-1, which means the highest-seeded team starts with two home games and then alternates until one team has won four games in total. The four teams that win their game in the first round advance to the second round, where they are ranked based on their success in the first round. For example, if the 8th seed defeats the 1st seed, they become the new 1st seed in the second round. The second round follows the same format as the first, and then the Conference Finals and NBA Finals both follow a seven-game series format. Winning four rounds of the playoffs is no small feat, which is why teams really need to outdo themselves if they want to be crowned champions.
After the first round, the conference semifinals are the next round of the playoffs. Only two of the four teams participating in this round will compete for a spot in the finals. In this round, the team with home rights plays the first, third and fifth games on their home pitch. If applicable, the seventh game will also be played on this ground. The team that does not have home field advantage plays the second, fourth and sixth games on their home pitch. Throughout the series, each team has the opportunity to play home and away. Winning the majority of games is important to advance to the next stage of the competition. Therefore, all players must put in 110% effort to help their team progress. Some players can rise to the occasion and show extraordinary performances that can increase or decrease their team’s chances of winning. The Conference Semifinals are always an exciting time for basketball fans to see their favorite teams compete for a chance to reach the NBA Finals.
The Conference Finals are the round of the playoffs where the conference champions are crowned. The conference champions then go head-to-head in the NBA Finals for the Larry O’Brien Championship. To advance to the Conference Finals, a team must first progress through the first three rounds of the playoffs. Conference Finals are also a best-of-seven series. The team with the best regular-season record has home field advantage in the playoffs, including the Conference Finals. When two teams from different conferences meet in the NBA Finals, they play a seven-game best-of-seven-innings series, and the team that wins the first four games is crowned the champion. Home field advantage in the NBA Finals goes to the higher-placed team in their respective Conference Finals.
After all, the NBA Grand Finals have been a strategic and professionally run event for over 50 years. The games are so intense because they count more than any other game in the regular season or even the playoffs; It’s all about who wins the NBA national title!