NBA Playoffs: Here is everything you need to know

The NBA playoffs are an annual elimination tournament contested by the best eight teams, from each of the two conferences. It is held after the regular NBA season. Therefore, the total number of teams contesting for the NBA playoffs is 16 teams. The playoffs are a competition used to determine the champion of the NBA title. However, the playoffs are not that easy to understand as it sounds. To get to the NBA playoffs finals, a team has to contest for so many games in each round. This article will provide you with everything that you need to know about the NBA playoffs.

Format

To understand the NBA playoffs, you need to first understand the format of the NBA playoffs. To easily understand the NBA playoffs format, I will divide it into a number of subheadings.

– Seeding

Seeding simply means awarding/arranging the teams in a given order, usually from number 1 seed to number 8 seed. Seeding is done to determine which teams will proceed to the playoffs. Seeding is done in each conference depending on their regular-season performance. The NBA changed the seeding format in September 2015 which took effect from the 2016 NBA playoffs. The NBA decided that the top eight teams in each conference are seeded according to their win-loss records.

Also, the NBA changed the format of breaking a tie when seeding, as well as the home-court advantage. The first tie-break method is the head-to-head results while the second method is if any contestant won its division championship. In case both teams are the division champions, then the last method is the percentage of the win-loss against the conference teams.

– Elimination

The NBA playoffs are referred to as an elimination tournament as it uses an elimination format of the best-of-seven. This means that every two teams should contest up to seven games, to get the team that will proceed to the next round. To proceed to the next round, the winning team must win more than three games.

During the first round in each conference, number 1 seed plays with number 8 seed, number 2 seed plays with number 7 seed, number 3 seed plays with number 6 seed, while number 4 seed plays with number 5 seed. The winners from the first round proceed to the conference semi-finals, which is the second round of the playoffs. The third round is called the conference finals, and the winners in this round proceed to determine the NBA title champion, in the NBA finals.

– Playoff series

The playoff series is determined by the home-court advantage. Usually, the home-court advantage is always awarded to the team with the better win-loss record in the regular season. The home/away series used in the playoffs is 2-2-1-1-1 arranged alternatively beginning with the home. This means that the team with the home-court advantage plays numbers 1, 2, 5, and 7 games at their home-court, and the rest of the games at the away-court.

When do the 2020 NBA playoffs start?

Play-in games (if necessary): Aug. 15-16
NBA playoffs: Aug. 17
NBA conference finals: Sept. 15
NBA Finals: Sept. 30

NBA playoff bracket 2020

Here are the NBA first-round playoff matchups, if the season ended today.

Eastern Conference

(1) Bucks vs. (8) Magic

(2) Raptors vs. (7) Nets

(3) Celtics vs. (6) 76ers

(4) Heat vs. (5) Pacers

Western Conference

(1) Lakers vs. (8) Grizzlies

(2) Clippers vs. (7) Mavericks

(3) Nuggets vs. (6) Rockets

(4) Jazz vs. (5) Thunder

History

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a popular association for so many years. NBA was founded in 1949 when the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged. However, the previous three BAA seasons before 1949 are counted as part of NBA history. This is because, during the three seasons, a best-of-seven series was used to determine the champion.

Although, the 1947 and 1948 seasons were a bit different from the last season. During these two seasons, the division champions from the eastern and western divisions contested in a best-of-seven to determine which team will proceed to the championship round. The second teams from both divisions contested in one series, as well as the third. The winners from the two then contested for another game. The fourth runners-up from both divisions also proceeded in a best-of-three series.

The first NBA championship in 1947, Philadelphia Warriors won against the Chicago Stags, who were the western champion, with four games to one. In 1948, Baltimore won the NBA championship title against Philadelphia who was the eastern champion.

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In 1949, which was the last BAA tournament, some changes were done on the playoffs. This time, four teams from each division were matched exclusively, to determine the playoffs champions from each division. The two playoff champions then proceeded to contest for the finals.

The NBA retained the playoff format in 1949 until the 1950 tournament. The format was then changed to three divisions with one division playoff champion from each division. The Minneapolis Lakers from the central division won the first champion under the new NBA name.

Then the division finals playoffs were changed into a best-of-five series from 1951 to 1953. In 1953-54, the league had nine members only. In 1954, round robins were played which is a unique thing in history. From 1954-66, the league had eight to nine members. From 1955-66, the division champions remained idle while the two runners-up contested in a series of a best-of-three. In 1958, the division finals were changed to a best-of-seven series, while in 1961, the division semifinals were changed to a best-of-five.

Then eight teams were applied after the 1966-67 season with ten members. In 1975, a fifth team was added to each division and a sixth team added to each division in 1977. This led to the addition of an extra best-of-three round.

In 1984, the teams were added to the present 16 teams, and four rounds, with a best-of-five series in the first round. In 2003, the first round was expanded to a best-of-seven.

2006 NBA playoffs

Due to the division realignment, the 2006 NBA playoffs had some controversy. This resulted in the playoffs being changed before the 2006-2007 season began. The 2006 NBA playoffs concluded and the Eastern Conference emerged as the winner. Miami Heat defeated Dallas Mavericks- Western Conference.

The Clippers made the biggest surprise by not only making it to the playoff since 1997 but also advancing to the second round. This was their first time in the second round since 1976 when they were known as the Buffalo Braves.

LeBron James made his playoff debut in this year and assisted the Cavaliers to eke out 1 point victories over Washington Wizards in the fifth and sixth game of the first round. They made their first playoff appearance this year since 1998. On top of that, they achieved their first playoff series win as from 1993.

How many times has the 8th seed won the NBA Finals?

No 8th Seeded team has won the NBA championship, but New York Knicks is the only 8th Seed team that reached the Finals once in 1999.

Records and statistics

– Only five teams with number 8 seeded have won the series against number 1 seeded teams.

– Only one team, the New York Knicks, with number 8 seed reached the NBA finals in 1999 and lost against the San Antonio Spurs (4-1).

– St Louis Hawks of 1956-1957, the Minneapolis Lakers of 1958-1959 and the Houston Rockets of 1980-1981 are the teams with a losing record of 34-38, 33-39, 40-42 respectively and have made it to the NBA finals.

– The Houston Rockets 1994-1995, a record of 47-35 sixth seed are the lowest-seeded team that has won the NBA finals.
– The Golden State Warriors boasts the longest winning streak in the NBA playoffs for a single postseason and achieved 15 straight wins during the 2017 playoffs.

– In 2017, the Golden State Warriors under the 7-7-7-7 system achieved the best record of 16-1 and they only lost in game 4 against Cleveland Cavaliers and this was in the finals.

In conclusion, this article has provided you with all the information that you need to know about the NBA playoffs and leaves you well informed to tackle most of the questions about the NBA playoffs.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_playoffs

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