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Your Guide to the 2024 NBA Playoff Schedule

by Leap on April 15, 2024 1

Every season, all 30 NBA teams share one goal: Win the NBA Finals. Each team plays 82 games throughout the year. Only 16 teams, however, will get the chance to take home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. We'll break down the schedule for the 2024 NBA playoffs and matchups between the best teams in basketball so you know exactly what to expect.

NBA Playoffs - Winning Basketball Team Stock Photo

NBA Playoffs Overview

The NBA is divided into two main conferences (Eastern and Western Conferences), both of which are made up of three divisions with five teams each. Six teams from each of the two conferences automatically advance to the playoffs based on regular season winning percentage. If two or more teams have the same record, standard NBA tiebreaker rules are used. Once the playoffs start, the bracket is fixed and teams are never reseeded.

The teams that finish seventh through tenth from each conference compete in the NBA Play-In Tournament to determine the final two playoff seeds. The seventh and eighth place teams get up to two chances to win one game in order to qualify for the playoffs, while the ninth and tenth place teams need to win two consecutive games to advance.

Each Playoff Series Explained

The NBA playoffs consist of four rounds: the First Round, the Conference Semifinals, the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. In the conference playoffs, home-court advantage goes to the higher-seeded team (number one being the highest). For the NBA Finals, home-court advantage goes to the team with the better regular season record.

The playoffs follow a tournament format. Each team plays an opponent in a best-of-seven series with the first team to win four games advancing into the next round, while the other team is eliminated from the playoffs. In the next round, the successful team plays against another advancing team of the same conference. All but one team in each conference is eliminated from the playoffs.

All rounds, including the NBA Finals, are in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, which means the team with home-court advantage hosts games 1, 2, 5 and 7 while their opponent hosts games 3, 4 and 6 — with games 5, 6 and 7 being played if needed.

The league began using its current format, with the top eight teams in each conference advancing regardless of divisional alignment, in the 2015—16 season.

First Round

Beginning in 2020, play-in games were used to determine the final qualified teams in the First Round of the NBA playoffs. Since the first seed begins the playoffs playing against the eighth seed, the second seed plays the seventh seed, the third seed plays the sixth seed and the fourth seed plays the fifth seed, having a higher seed typically means a team faces a weaker opponent in the First Round.

Conference Semifinals

The four teams who won the best-of-seven First Round series will then move on to the Conference Semifinals.

Conference Finals

At this point, there are only two teams left in each conference. Those two teams compete against each other in the Conference Finals for the conference title and a spot in the NBA Finals. The two best teams in either conference won't meet until the Conference Finals at the earliest.

NBA Finals

The NBA Finals happen in the final round when just one team from the Eastern Conference and one team from the Western Conference are left. The team that reaches four wins first will become the NBA champion and win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. Each player and major contributor — including coaches and the general manager — on the winning team receives a championship ring. In addition, the league awards the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award to the best-performing player of the series.

2024 NBA Playoffs Schedule

NBA Playoffs - Cavaliers vs Hawks Photo: Erik Drost / Licensed by Creative Commons/ CC BY 2.0

Here's when each round begins.

  • Play-In Tournament: April 16-19, 2024
  • First Round: April 20, 2024
  • Conference Semifinals: May 6-7, 2024 (but could move up to May 4-5, 2024 if the First Round ends early)
  • Conference Finals: May 21-22, 2024 (but could move up to May 19-20, 2024 if Conference Semifinals end early)
  • NBA Finals: June 6, 2024

2024 NBA Playoffs Teams and Tickets

The 2024 SoFi Play-In Tournament will take place April 16-19, 2024. In the Eastern Conference, the seventh-place Philadelphia 76ers will face off against the eighth-place Miami Heat and the ninth-place Chicago Bulls will face off against the tenth-place Atlanta Hawks. In the Western Conference, the seventh-place New Orleans Pelicans will face off against the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers and the ninth-place Sacramento Kings will face off against the tenth-place Golden State Warriors.

Until those winners are decided, here's what the Eastern and Western Conference playoff brackets look like:

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

NBA playoffs are known for their intensity and competitiveness, with games often decided in the final moments. You won't want to miss out on this exciting tournament! Root for your favorite team and score awesome deals and savings when you purchase postseason tickets through Undercover Tourist. A trusted ticket seller for over 20 years, Undercover Tourist offers a 100 percent buyer guarantee, so you can be sure your purchase is valid and secure. Visit your team's page to view available tickets.

We're pumped for the 2024 NBA playoffs! While the Boston Celtics are the only team to finish the regular season with more than 60 wins, it's anyone's tournament to win. The Denver Nuggets are the reigning league champs and the Celtics are tied with play-off hopefuls Los Angeles Lakers for the most NBA championships. Who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: 2023-24 NBA Schedule — Everything to Know for This Season

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Apr 19, 2024 at 3:01 p.m. Keegan Says...

i need one of it

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