From the Play-In Tournament to the NBA Finals, we’re finally heading into the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Here’s everything you need to know.
It’s finally that time of the year again — the NBA Playoffs. And if your team has successfully made it out of the regular season, that means that every game from here on out is a must-win, especially if you’re looking to make the most out of these last few months of league action.
We know we are.
So let’s get straight to it. Here’s what you need to know about the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Which teams are through to the playoffs?
At the end of the NBA regular season, the top six teams from both the Western and Eastern Conferences automatically advance into the playoffs tournament. These are the top six teams from each conference:
- Denver Nuggets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Sacramento Kings
- Phoenix Suns
- LA Clippers
- Golden State Warriors
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- New York Knicks
- Brooklyn Nets
However, these twelve teams do not yet show the full picture of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, as the seventh and eighth seeds of each conference will still be determined by the Play-In Tournament.
How does the Play-In Tournament work?
For those of you who may not know, a version of the NBA Play-In Tournament format began in 2020, but the NBA only officially adopted the format in 2022.
At the end of the regular season, the teams ranked seventh through 10th enter the Play-In Tournament. These are the teams who are set to compete in 2023:
- LA Lakers (7th)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (8th)
- New Orleans Pelicans (9th)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (10th)
- Miami Heat (7th)
- Atlanta Hawks (8th)
- Toronto Raptors (9th)
- Chicago Bulls (10th)
In the first round of the Play-In Tournament, the seventh seed from each conference will host the eighth seed, and likewise, the ninth seed will host the 10th seed. From this, the winner between No. 7 and No. 8 will automatically advance to the playoffs as the seventh seed. Meanwhile, the loser will play the winner of the No. 9 vs. No 10 game, and the winner will take the eighth seed.
Here are the current schedules for the first round of the Play-In Tournament (in Manila time):
- Heat vs. Hawks (April 12, 7:30 AM)
- Lakers vs. Timberwolves (April 12, 10:00 AM)
- Raptors vs. Bulls (April 13, 7:00 AM)
- Pelicans vs. Thunder (April 13, 9:30 AM)
How do the playoffs work?
Once the Play-In Tournament results are set, the 2023 NBA Playoffs can officially commence with the last 16 teams in the league.
The NBA Playoffs is a four-round elimination postseason tournament, where the matchups are determined through the seedings.
This means that the first seed of each conference will play the eighth seed, the second seed plays the seventh seed, and so on. The higher-seeded teams also receive home-court advantage for Games 1, 2, 5, and 7.
Following a best-of-seven format, the first team to win four games in every series will advance to the subsequent round, while the loser drops out of the tournament.
This is what the 2023 NBA Playoffs picture currently looks like:
While the full schedule of the 2023 NBA Playoffs is still set to be released, the first playoff games start on April 16, Sunday (Manila time).
Who is favored to win?
While different sources will have varying predictions of the NBA Playoffs, many of them showcase a consensus that in the Eastern Conference, it will come down to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics — the two teams with the best records in the league.
In the Western Conference, on the other hand, many sources agree that the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns have the best chances of making it to the finals.
But, we have a good few more months of basketball coming up to determine if these predictions will hold true.
When are the NBA finals?
If your team is currently in the Playoffs picture, you’re certainly hoping that they’ll make it to the 2023 NBA Finals. But, there is still a long way to go from now until then.
The NBA Conference finals are scheduled to start between May 16 to 17, although depending on the number of matches played in the preliminary rounds of the Playoffs, this may be bumped up to the 14th or 15th.
Following this, the 2023 NBA Finals start on June 1.
Where do you see your team finishing this season?