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The playoffs are the end-of-season tournament to determine which team wins the NBA title.

How many teams are in the NBA playoffs?

The playoffs are comprised of 16 teams in total – the eight best from each of the NBA’s two conferences (East and West).

The teams in each conference are ranked by their win-loss record from the regular season. The six teams with the most wins from each conference progress immediately to the playoffs.

The seventh to 10th teams in each conference then play for the remaining playoff spots in a play-in tournament.

What is the play-in tournament?

For the first time ever in 2021, the final two playoff spots in each conference will be decided by a play-in tournament.

The tournament will feature the teams ranked seventh to 10th in each conference, who will play each other in a format that is a combination of single- and double-elimination.

First, the seventh placed team plays the eighth placed team, with the winner handed the seventh seed in their conference.

The ninth placed team then plays the 10th placed team, and the losing team is eliminated.

The loser of the first game then plays the winner of the second for the eighth seed.

The 2022 NBA play-in tournament match-ups were as follows:


Minnesota Timberwolves (7) vs Los Angeles Clippers (8)

New Orleans Pelicans (9) vs San Antonio Spurs (10)


Brooklyn Nets (7) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (8)

Atlanta Hawks (9) vs Charlotte Hornets (10)

The Timberwolves, Pelicans, Nets and Hawks all advanced to the postseason.

How are the NBA playoffs seeded?

In each conference, the top six teams are seeded 1 to 6 based on their regular-season record.

The team with the best record in each conference receives the no. 1 seed, while the team with the worst record receives the no. 6 seed, and so on.

If there is a tie, then head-to-head record is used to determine which team receives the better seed.

If that is also level, then the higher seed goes to the team that is a divisional champion. Should both or neither team be divisional champion, the third tie-breaker is the win-loss record against other teams in their division.

Win-loss percentage against conference teams is the final tie-breaker, should none of the above criteria provide a conclusion.

The seventh and eighth seed in each conference is decided by the play-in tournament.


How do the NBA playoffs work?

The playoffs use a best-of-seven elimination format. This means two teams play each other up to seven times, with the team that wins four games progressing to the next round.

In the first round, the no. 1 seed in each conference plays the no. 8 seed. no. 2 plays no. 7, no, 3 plays no. 6, and no. 4 plays no. 5.

The second round is known as the conference semi-finals, and the third round is the conference finals.

The teams that progress from each conference then meet in the NBA Finals to determine the champion.

In each round, the team with the better regular-season record is rewarded with home-court advantage. A playoff series follows a 2-2-1-1-1 home/away format. This means that, of the seven games in a series, the team with the better seed plays games 1, 2, 5 and 7 at home.

When do the NBA playoffs start?

The 2022 NBA playoffs began with the play-in tournament on April 12. The first round of the playoffs began on April 16.

The playoffs run for approximately two months, with the Finals starting no later than June 2 and ending no later than June 19.

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