The NBA playoffs are basketball at its best when the top teams scrape it out in several competitive series to find out who will be the champion. Whether it is playing in the playoffs or winning the NBA Finals, it takes fantastic skills, teamwork, and resilience to do so.

This article is about the format of the 2024 NBA playoffs and the path to the crown. It details the schedule, tournament structure, and what to be aware of once the post-season begins in April 2024.

Knowing how playoffs are conducted lets you recognize the teams’ difficulties and the winner’s achievements.

The Road to the Championship
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1. The Play-In Tournament

The 2024 season will involve the return of the play-in tournament, a measuring stick for the final few playoff spots. Scheduled on April 16-19, this mini tournament features the teams whose ranking in the regular season was between seventh and tenth position in their respective conferences. The play-in format will decide the last two spots of the playoffs in East and West.

On the 16th of April, the winner of the conference’s seventh and eighth seeds will gain the seventh seed. Then, the ninth and tenth seeds will play for the right to take on the loser of the seventh vs. eighth game.

These matchups will occur on April 17. Finally, on April 19, the losers of the initial seventh vs. eighth games will host the winners of the ninth vs. tenth games. The victors in these contests will clinch the eighth and final playoff spots.

You should note that the play-in tournament presents an opportunity but also introduces risk. Finishing seventh or eighth guarantees a postseason berth, but ninth and tenth place only get one chance in the playoff games.

One loss means the end of the season. Regular, solid season performance is essential to avoid this high-pressure scenario. Now that you’re familiar with the play-in tournament check out the 2024 NBA playoffs schedule to prepare for the first round of the playoffs.

2. The First Round of the Playoffs

With the play-in tournament complete, the first round of the NBA playoffs can begin on April 20. Based on regular-season results, the playoffs are seeded one through eight in each conference.

The top seed faces the eighth seed, the second face the seventh, the third face the sixth, and the fourth face the fifth. These are all best-of-seven series, meaning the first team to win four games advances.

In the first round, home-court advantage belongs to the higher-seeded club. This means they get games one, two, five, and seven (if necessary) in their arena.

Familiar surroundings can provide a significant boost to avoid elimination as playoff basketball intensifies. The team goal should be to earn a top-four seed and home court for as long as possible on the road to the Finals.

The First Round of the Playoffs
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3. The Conference Semifinals

The conference semifinals are scheduled for May 6-7, though the dates could be moved if the first-round series ends early. In this round, the remaining teams are re-seeded one through four within their respective conferences.

The top seed faces the fourth seed, and the second faces the third, with a best-of-seven series deciding who advances to the conference finals. Home court advantage again belongs to the higher seed. At this point, only four teams remain in the hunt for the NBA championship within each conference.

The competition level rises significantly, as just two wins separate the remaining clubs from a spot in the conference finals. Strong play on both ends of the floor will be needed to keep your championship hopes alive.

4. The Conference Finals

From May 21-22, the Eastern and Western Conference Finals are scheduled to start. This series matches up the winners of the conference semifinal matchups and follows a best-of-seven format. Like previous rounds, home court is given to the higher-seeded team that advances from the semifinals.

Only two teams in each conference remain at this late postseason stage. The physical and mental demands of multiple playoff series will be fully realized. Winning on the road against a formidable opponent will be a significant challenge. The two clubs that survive the conference finals earn the honor of facing off in the NBA Finals for the ultimate prize – an NBA championship.

The Conference Finals
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5. The NBA Finals

The season’s highlight event is the NBA Finals, which will be held on June 6, 2024. They feature the winners of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals battling in a best-of-seven series to determine the league champion.

The home-court advantage in the Finals belongs to the team from the conference with the better regular season record. Reaching the Finals represents the pinnacle of success for any NBA franchise or player. After two grueling months, only two teams remain to decide who lifts the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The pressure to close out the long playoff run and cement your legacy is immense. Championship mettle will be tested with the basketball world watching. Whoever survives the Finals can call themselves the 2024 NBA champions.

The NBA Finals
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Final Thoughts

The road to an NBA title is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires excellence over the regular season and playoffs to reach the Finals. Understanding the format and schedule of the 2024 postseason can help you appreciate what it takes to win a championship.

While the goal is the same for all 30 NBA teams, not every club will be champions. The teams that can stay healthy, play their best basketball when it matters most, and win multiple best-of-seven series will be the last ones standing with the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June 2024.

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