NBA Playoff 2024 format, dates, rounds & more: Former Raptors to root for in playoffs

Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages
1 of 3

The sand is quickly spilling from the hourglass of the NBA regular season, a bittersweet reality for fans of the Toronto Raptors. On the one hand, the playoffs are the best part of basketball, and this year in particular boasts a number of strong teams and fascinating storylines.

For the Raptors, however, the playoffs are very nearly out of reach. Their season will almost certainly end on April 14th when they play Game 82 of the regular season.

For those interested in continuing to watch the NBA postseason, what do you need to know about the playoffs? What's the format, when do they start, and how do you watch? And for Raptors fans handing off their team, who can they root for?

What is the format of the 2024 NBA Playoffs?

Out of the NBA's 30 teams, 20 of them qualify for the postseason. The top six teams from each conference qualify for the main bracket automatically, and the final four teams will face off in a brief Play-In Tournament to determine the teams that will take the seventh and eighth slots on each side.

From there, the eight teams in each conference are seeded into a bracket, and the first round of the playoffs will see the No. 1 seed play the No. 8 seed, the No. 2 seed play the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed play the No. 6 seed, and the No. 4 seed play the No. 5 seed. They will compete in a best-of-7 format, which means the first team to secure four wins will move on to the next round. In each series, the team with the higher seed has homecourt advantage, meaning they play games 1, 2, 5 and 7 at home.

The winner of the 1-8 matchup will play the winner of the 4-5 matchup, while the winner of the 2-7 matchup will play the winner of the 3-6 matchup in the conference semifinals. The winner of each of those game will then face off in the conference finals, with the champion of that series moving on to the NBA Finals to face the winning team from the opposite conference.

When do the playoffs begin?