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NBA play-offs 2024: Who has qualified, standings & play-in tournament

By BBC
Basketball GETTY IMAGESImage caption:Jayson Tatum's Boston Celtics have been the standout team during the NBA regular season
TUE, 16 APR 2024 LISTEN
GETTY IMAGES Image caption:Jayson Tatum's Boston Celtics have been the standout team during the NBA regular season

After seventh months and a dramatic final day, the NBA's regular season is over and all eyes turn to the play-offs.

Twelve teams have booked their spots, but the final four places will be settled by the play-in tournament, which starts on Tuesday and features the likes of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers and Steph Curry's Golden State Warriors.

The teams will then battle to reach the NBA Finals in June, with some games to be shown live on the BBC.

  • Which teams have secured a spot in the NBA play-offs?

Eastern Conference: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers.

Western Conference: Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets (defending champions), Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.

  • Which teams are in the NBA play-in tournament?

The play-in tournament runs from Tuesday to Friday, before the play-offs get under way on 20 April.

In each conference, the teams that finished the regular season between seventh and 10th place will compete for two additional play-off spots.

The team that finished seventh will face the side that finished eighth, while ninth plays 10th.

The winners of the seventh-eighth match will gain a play-off spot as the seventh seed. The losers will face the winner of the ninth-10th match and the winner of that match will take the eighth seed.

Eastern conference:


  • 7th/8th: Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
  • 9th/10th: Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

Western conference:


  • 7th/8th: Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
  • 9th/10th: Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings

How do the NBA play-offs work?

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IMAGE SOURCE: DAVID BERDING
Image caption: Chet Holmgren (left) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right) have helped Oklahoma City Thunder qualify for the play-offs from the Western Conference

While the play-in tournament consists of single games, play-off rounds are decided by a best-of-seven series.

In each conference, the match-ups are decided by seedings.

Eastern Conference: Boston Celtics (1) v 8th Seed; NY Knicks (2) v 7th Seed; Milwaukee Bucks (3) v Indiana Pacers (6); Cleveland Cavaliers (4) v Orlando Magic (5)

Western Conference: Oklahoma City Thunder (1) v 8th Seed; Denver Nuggets (2) v 7th Seed; Minnesota Timberwolves (3) v Phoenix Suns (6); LA Clippers (4) v Dallas Mavericks (5)

The first round is followed by the conference semi-finals, then the conference finals, with the winners of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals.

  • When does the NBA Finals series take place?

The opening game of the NBA Finals takes place on 6 June.

Games are then scheduled every three days after that and, if all seven games are required, game seven will be on 23 June.

  • Can standout Celtics end title drought?

The Celtics had the best regular season record, winning 64 of their 82 games.

Boston are looking to win their first NBA title since 2008, having lost the 2022 finals.

Another championship for the Celtics would take them clear of the Lakers for the most NBA titles, with both franchises level on 17.

The Nuggets are looking to become the first side since the Warriors in 2018 to win back-to-back titles.

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