For 74 years now, the National Basketball Association has had games take place all over the U.S. Teams from almost every state compete for the final victory in the playoffs.
Before COVID-19 started, the top eight teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences made it to the playoffs. Each team played best out of seven games. The first seed played the eighth seed, the second seed played the seventh seed and so on.
As of right now, the Western Conference, in order from first to last seed, for the 2021 NBA Playoffs is as follows: Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.
The Eastern Conference includes: Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the usual rules and norms have changed. This year, the playoffs start with a system known as a “play-in.” Instead of the top six teams making it to playoffs, the NBA will choose the top ten teams from each conference. Seed numbers ten through seven begin playing May 18th.
Instead of using the best out of seven method, teams seven and eight will face each other and team ten and nine must play each other in a single elimination game. The winner of games nine and ten move on to the next round of the play-in.
The loser of the seventh and eighth game plays the winner of the ninth and tenth game and the winner of the seventh and eighth game advances to the playoffs.
In total, there are three games in the play-inns and four rounds of play-offs for both conferences. At the end of the four rounds of playoffs, the two winners from both conferences compete in the best of seven games for the NBA championship.