NBA Standings and Playoffs

NBA Standings and Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are underway with the Celtics and Thunder both winning their Game 1s. Teams finishing in the top six of each conference automatically qualify for the postseason, while the seventh through 10th-place teams compete in a play-in tournament.

The Magic are in fourth but have a brutal schedule down the stretch (at Milwaukee, at Orlando, home against Cleveland). The sixth-place 76ers are favored to make it past the Pacers only to meet a full-healthy Raptors squad in Round 2. The NBA Finals are played between the winners of each conference.

Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference is home to a number of good teams. Among them are the Boston Celtics, who have won three straight Eastern titles and have won NBA championships in two of those seasons. The Celtics have a balanced starting five and a deep bench, which gives them an edge over the rest of the league.

The Celtics have dominated the conference this season, and they are on track to break some records this year. Their winning streak has put them on the verge of breaking the all-time record for most consecutive wins in the regular season. They also have a chance to set a new mark for most wins by a team in the history of the NBA playoffs. The Boston Celtics have won 31 games in the regular season, which puts them well ahead of their closest rivals, the Indiana Pacers, who have 28 wins.

In 2022-23, the Celtics are expected to continue their success in the Eastern Conference and challenge the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive year. They have a talented roster that includes young players like Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier. The Celtics have the best defense in the league and are one of the top three teams in terms of offensive efficiency.

The NBA’s Eastern and Western conferences are divided into four divisions, with the winners of each division advancing to the Conference Finals. The Conference Finals are a best-of-seven series, and the winner of the series advances to the NBA Finals.

One of the most memorable Conference Finals in NBA history was the 1981 series between Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics and Julius Erving’s Philadelphia 76ers. The two stars were at the peak of their careers, and the series was incredibly close. In fact, five of the seven games came down to a two-point margin.

The NBA has had a resurgence in the past few years, and the East is once again on the top of its standings. This trend will likely continue if the league expands to 32 teams. The expansion will likely include a team from the West, which would necessitate moving an Eastern team to the West.

Western Conference

After a grueling regular season, all 30 NBA teams will play their final game of the year this afternoon. The Celtics are the favorites to win the conference title again this year, but it’s been an incredibly tight race down to the wire. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, and Dallas Mavericks are all also in the running for the top seed.

The NBA playoffs were instituted with a three-stage tournament in 1947. The two first-placed teams qualified directly to one semifinal, while the second-placed teams were paired in another semifinal. The winners of these semifinals then played a best-of-seven final series.

In 1954, the playoffs were changed again. The first-placed team in each division received a bye, and the two runners-up were matched up in a best-of-five series. In 1957, the division semifinals became a best-of-seven series, and in 1958, the conference finals were expanded to a best-of-seven format as well.

Today, the top six teams in each conference – the Celtics, Bucks, Knicks, Magic, Pacers, 76ers, and Bulls – advance to the playoffs without a play-in tournament. The other 10 teams – the Thunder, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Clippers, Suns, Lakers, Heat, and Grizzlies – will compete in the NBA play-in tournament to decide the seventh and eighth seeds.

After a rough start to the postseason, the New York Knicks are finally starting to look like the team that we saw in the regular season. Jalen Brunson scored 43 points in a nail-biting Game 1 victory against the Pacers, and the Knicks will look to maintain their momentum in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

The Celtics and Thunder remain the top seeds in the East and West, respectively. The former is in the best position to secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, while the latter will need a few wins from teams ahead of them to lock up a top-two seed as well. Meanwhile, the defending champion Utah Jazz are in danger of losing their number one seed, and will need to win both of their remaining games against the T-Wolves to keep their hopes alive.

Play-In Tournament

The Play-In Tournament is a series of games played in the NBA at the end of the regular season to determine the final playoff seeds in each conference. Teams finishing in position 7 through 10 in their conference standings compete in a series of three games to see who gets the last two spots in their respective playoff brackets. The tournament takes place immediately prior to the NBA Playoffs, which are the main playoff events in the National Basketball Association and considered by the league to be a separate event from the Play-In Tournament.

The current system for determining the playoff field was introduced in 2020. It changed how the top eight teams in each conference secured a postseason spot, giving more franchises the chance to make the playoffs despite not finishing with one of the best records in the regular season. The system also added a second chance for teams to qualify for the playoffs in the event that they finish outside the top eight in their conferences.

This year, the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers will meet in a Play-In game on Tuesday night. The winner of the game will face the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers will host the Miami Heat in their Play-In game on Wednesday night. The winners of these two games will then face each other in the final game of the series.

The loser of that game will play the winner of the other Play-In matchup to decide the last seed in their conference. Traditionally, the losers of these games will be sent to the lottery. However, the rules have been changed in recent years to allow the losers of these games to compete for a better seed. Having the right to participate in the lottery is still the goal of many of these teams, but they have additional incentives to win their play-in games to improve their chances of qualifying for the playoffs. This is a big part of why teams compete in the Play-In Tournament.


The NBA playoffs are a four-round, best-of-seven tournament that determines the league champion. The top six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs based on their regular season record, and the final two spots are determined through a play-in tournament. The playoff standings are updated as games are played, and the top-seeded team in each series is awarded home-court advantage.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been using a playoff system since 1947, when the first playoffs were instituted. The system has changed over the years, but its basic structure remains the same. The playoffs have always consisted of a series of best-of-seven games, and the winners of each round advance to the next round. The first-place team in each division receives a bye to the semifinals, and the second-place team is paired with one of the top seeds.

During the 2023 NBA playoffs, the Knicks and Thunder won their respective first-round series to reach the Finals. This marked the first time that teams seeded seventh or lower won a playoff series, and the Knicks were the lowest-seeded team to win the championship in the history of the NBA.

In 2024, the NBA Playoffs are moving on to Round 2. The Celtics and Thunder both won Game 1 of their first-round series, while the Knicks jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Pacers with a wild overtime finish in Game 1. The Nuggets and Timberwolves are both up 2-0 over Nikola Jokic and the reigning champs, but they’ll have to wait until Wednesday night for their next matchup.

The playoff standings are updated as the rounds progress, and the top-seeded team will receive home-court advantage in the semifinals. The two teams in the other semifinal will then meet in a best-of-seven series for the conference championship. Ties for playoff positions are broken utilizing the criteria set forth in subparagraph a. below (in the case of ties involving two teams) or subparagraph b. below (in the case of ties with more than two teams). The winners of each series go to the conference finals, where they will compete for the NBA championship.


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