How do the NBA Playoffs Work?
Seeding the Bracket
Beginning with the 2016 playoffs, the NBA has restructured their seeding for the NBA Playoff Bracket so that the 8 teams in each conference are seeded solely based on their record. In the past if a team was a division champion, they would be seeded no lower than a 4 seed. To put it simply, this just makes sense, the NBA got it right with this and hopefully the NFL Playoffs will follow suit. The NBA Playoff Bracket is also a "true" bracket, meaning when a team wins the move directly over in the bracket, there is no re-seeding in the second round like the NFL does.
If two teams end the season with the same record, the head-to-head results will determine which team has the highest seed. If the head-to-head record is the same then if a team is a division champ and the other is not, the division champ would have the higher seed. The 3rd tie-breaker is if the teams are in the same division, the win-loss record against teams in their division would be used. If that doesn't resolve the tie, then the win-loss percentage against conference teams will be used.
Qualifying and Seeding:
The NBA Playoffs has 16 total teams, with the top 8 teams from each conference participating. Teams in each conference will be seeded from 1 to 8 based on their record. The teams with the best record in their conferences will be the overall number 1 seeds, 2nd best record will be number 2 seeds and so on.
All 16 teams play in the first round, there are no byes as there is in the NFL Playoffs. The 4 winning teams in each conference move onto the second round. Then the 2 winning teams in each conference move onto the Conference Championships. The winner of each Conference Championship will then play in the NBA Finals for the NBA Championship!
NBA Playoff Series
This has not always been the case, but the NBA now plays a best-of-7 series for each playoff match-up. There used to be some best-of-5 series in the early rounds of the bracket, but as you guessed 7 games brings in a little more moola!
In each series there is a rotation between home courts, it is as follows:
2 Games at the Higher Seeds Home Court
2 Games at the Lower Seeds Home Court
1 Game at the Higher Seeds Home Court
1 Games at the Lower Seeds Home Court
1 Games at the Higher Seeds Home Court