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2024 NBA Playoffs: Start date, how to watch, format and more

All you need to know about the 2024 NBA Playoffs, set to begin on Saturday, April 20.

In 2023, the Denver Nuggets won the NBA title for the first time in franchise history, the Miami Heat became the second 8-seed in history to reach the Finals, and LeBron James and Stephen Curry clashed in a playoff series for what could be the final time. 

What excitement and storylines will the 2024 NBA Playoffs bring about?

When do the 2024 NBA Playoffs start?

The NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, April 20, the day after the Play-In Tournament concludes.

When are the 2024 NBA Finals?

The NBA Finals will begin with Game 1 on Thursday, June 6. Game 2 is set for June 9, Game 3 on June 12, Game 4 on June 14, Game 5 (if necessary) on June 17 and Game 6 (if necessary) on June 20.

In the case of a Game 7, it will take place on Sunday, June 23.

2024 NBA Playoffs schedule

The first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs begins on April 20. The Conference Semifinals are scheduled to begin on May 6 and 7, but could move up to May 4 and 5 if the prior round ends early.

The Conference Finals are slated to begin on May 21 and 22, but could move up to start on May 19 and 20 if the prior round ends early.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 6, and Game 7 - if necessary - is scheduled for June 23.

How to watch the NBA Playoffs, TV channel and streaming

The NBA Playoffs will be broadcast across ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV in the United States. There will also be some first-round games shown on regional sports networks. The Finals will air exclusively on ABC.

2024 NBA Playoff teams

The 10 teams to make either the NBA Playoffs or Play-In Tournament in the Western Conference are finalized, but the order in the standings has not been finalized.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have all locked down playoff spots, meaning they will avoid the Play-In. The New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors will all vie to be the final team to avoid the Play-In.

In the East, the Boston Celtics have clinched the conference's top seed. The Milwaukee Bucks have clinched a spot to avoid the Play-In.

The New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have all clinched postseason spots but two of those teams could fall into the Play-In. The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks have each clinched Play-In spots.

NBA Playoffs format

While NBA teams play an 82-game regular season, it's the Playoffs which decide who ends the campaign as the champions. 

The regular season standings are taken after the final game and used to map out the bracket, which charts the route to the NBA Finals for every contender.

Each round of the playoffs is a seven game series, meaning the first team to four wins advances.

Matchups are set based regular season standings. In the first round, the team that finishes first in the standings plays the lower-ranked team to advance from the Play-In, the team that came in second plays the higher-seeded Play-In team, the third-placed team plays the sixth-placed team, and the fourth- and fifth-placed teams face off.

Then, the winner of No. 1 vs. No. 8 plays the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5, and the winner of No. 2 vs. No. 7 plays the winner of No. 3 vs. No 6. Then the last two teams remaining in each conference face off in the Conference Finals, and the winners of those series play in the NBA Finals.

How many teams make the NBA Playoffs?

The NBA Playoffs feature 16 teams, with eight teams from both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference making it into the postseason. 

Previously, the top eight teams from both sets of standings qualified for the Playoffs. However, that's been changed by the addition of the Play-In Tournament. 

Now teams from seventh to 10th from the east and west face off for the final two Playoff spots in each conference.

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