NBA Playoff Rules
by Todd Lepow - 11/21/2008
During each NBA season teams battle through a rough and rigid 82 game regular season to earn the right to play in the 16-team playoff tournament for the NBA Championship.
NBA Playoff rules state the playoffs consist of the top eight teams in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, determined by their season Win-Loss record.
The team with the best record in each conference is the No. 1 seed for each side of the playoff bracket (Eastern and Western). The three division champions and the team remaining with the best record in each conference are seeded one through four. This ensures each division champion is no lower than the fourth seed. The two best teams in each conference, record wise, are seeded as the top two. Seeds five through eight are the remaining teams in each conference with the best record determining a team's seed placement.
The NBA Playoffs begin with the one seeds in each Conference taking on the eight seeds. The two seeds take on the seventh seeds, the three seeds face off against the sixth seeds and the fourth seeds take on the fifth seeds.
The winner of the 1-8 series takes on the winner of the 4-5 series and the winner of the 2-7 series takes on the winner of the 3-6 series. Each series in the NBA playoffs is a best-of-seven with the team with the best record during the regular season receiving home court advantage in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. The team with home court advantage receives games 1, 2, 5 and 7 while the opponent gets games 3, 4 and 6.
The NBA Finals, consisting of the Eastern Conference Champion against Western Conference Champion, changes format to a 2-3-2 playoff where the team with home court gets games 1,2,6,7 with their opponent getting home court for games 3, 4 and 5. NBA Final games 5, 6 and 7 are played in each series only if necessary.