The NBA Playoffs are three rounds of competitions between sixteen teams divided into the East Conference, the West Conference and the winners go to the NBA Finals.
This competition mode started back in 1947 as a three game eliminatory process. The best two teams, winning two of three games were able to go to the final that was played in 7 games. Generally the Playoffs start at the end of April with eight teams in each conference. The first three places in every conference are determined for the top ones on each division following the balance between win and lose.
This rule (Win-Lose) have created lots of controversy because it lets teams with a bad record, get in the playoffs easily. (For Example, if in the same division there are the best two records of the conference, the second place regarding the record, ends in the fourth place in the positions table. In fact, in case of reaching the first round, is almost sure that will be playing against the first place, while the second and third place will have better options to keep going even though they don’t have good records.
Following the logic of the playoffs, the five teams left are determined based in the record of victories among the non-winning teams of the conference. Nevertheless, being the champion of the division, does not guarantee to have an advantage at the Playoffs, eliminatory. Another detail to keep an eye on, is that the advantage in this matter is given by the balance of the win-lose count during the regular season, without respecting the winners of each division.
This is one of the most criticized rule ever in this sport. Having a high record offers many advantages. The first rank will play always against the eighth one (which is the lowest one on the seed), the second will play against the seventh, the third against the sixth and the fourth against the fifth. So, having a good balance in this count means that the team will play against a team that is weaker. In fact, the one with the best balance will have the best advantage in the first playoff series, including the first round.
In fact, having a good balance in the win-lose count for a team that is ranked sixth, means that it has better opportunities to win against the third despite the ranking of the other team. Having a good place in the ranking does not mean that you are the winner if you don’t have a good record.
Below you will find the current up to date playoffs bracket for this season and a printable/downloadable version.
Also check the Playoff Schedules online here