NBA Playoff 2024 format, dates, rounds & more

The NBA Playoffs will be here before we know it. Below is an outline of this year's playoff schedule and when each series will start.

Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

With the month of March now in full swing, so too is the stretch run of the 2023-24 NBA season.

Things are starting to get interesting, and as we enter the final full month of the NBA calendar, we are starting to see who the true contenders are and who may ultimately end up on the outside looking in when things are all said and done.

The NBA Playoffs will be here before we know it, and it should be fun to see how everything plays out.

We've done a number of pieces on the playoffs and their format, as well as discussed changes that have been made. In this piece, we will break down the schedule for this year's playoffs.

NBA Playoff schedule

The regular season will come to an end on Sunday, April 14. But before the playoffs get underway, the play-in tournament will take place. Beginning on April 16, seeds No. 7 and 8 will match up to determine who will advance to the playoffs in their respective conferences. The winner moves on as the official seventh seed, while the loser plays the winner of the 9-10 matchups, which will take place the following day.

The losers of the 9-10 matchups are eliminated. On April 19, the final play-in games to determine the official No. 8 seed will be played. The loser will be eliminated, and on April 20, the playoffs will officially begin with the 16-team structure.

April 20 will mark the beginning of round one, which will last until May 5 at the latest. However, the situation is fluid, and should every series reach its conclusion early, then the Conference Semifinals could kick off as soon as May 4 or May 5.

Should all first-round series go the full seven games, the Conference Semifinals will begin as scheduled on May 6 and 7.

Again, there is a lot that could take place and shift the schedule of the playoffs in the second round. The final matchups are set to conclude on May 20, with the Conference Finals getting underway on May 21 and 22. However, should the Conference Semifinals end early, the Conference Finals could start as soon as May 19 or 20.

Regardless of how the previous rounds play out, the NBA finals will kick off on Thursday, June 6. There will be two days in between Games 1 and 2, and Games 2 and 3. The team with the better record will host the first two games before the series shifts to the lower seed's venue for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will take place on June 12, with Game 4 coming after just one off-day on June 14.

The teams will then trade venues for the final three games, if necessary. Game 7 is currently scheduled for Sunday, June 23. That game will take place at the higher seed's home court.

Where things stand

Last year, it was the Denver Nuggets who were the last team standing after winning their first-ever NBA title. They have a good chance to defend their title, as they sit in a second-place tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In the Eastern Conference, it is the Boston Celtics who own the best record at 48-12. They have a commanding 8.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, who are second in the conference.

As things stand today, the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Miami Heat, sit in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. They ended up being seed No. 8 last year after losing the first play-in game last postseason, but they knocked out a heavyweight in the Celtics to advance to the NBA Finals.

Miami would play the Indiana Pacers in the 7-8 play-in matchup, while the 9-10 matchup would feature the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. In the West, the final four playoff-eligible spots are occupied by the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.

We'll see how things shake out as the end of the regular season draws near.

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