The NBA playoffs are an annual basketball showdown where the top teams from the league's Eastern and Western conferences battle it out for the coveted NBA championship title. But just how many games does it take to go from playoff hopefuls to league champions? Let's break it down so you don't dribble away confused!

Playoff Primer

Before we can count the games, let's understand the structure.

The NBA playoffs kick off after the regular NBA season concludes, featuring the top eight teams from each conference.

These teams are ranked or "seeded" based on their win-loss records. Higher seeds gain home court advantage, which is like having the loudest and most supportive sixth man!

The Play-In Tournament

Introduced in 2021, the play-in tournament adds a zesty twist to the postseason. It involves the seventh to tenth seeds in each conference. The seventh and eighth seeds need just one win to secure their spots, while the ninth and tenth seeds must win two games. This mini-tournament decides who gets the last two playoff spots in each conference, making it a high-stakes basketball buffet!

First Round

Once the play-in dust settles, the first round series begins. Each matchup in this round is a best of seven series. This means a team needs to win four games to advance. With eight series happening (four in each conference), that's a lot of basketball!

Conference Semifinals

The winners from the first round move on to the conference semifinals, also formatted as a best of seven. The intensity dials up as teams are just a couple of steps away from the NBA Finals. Again, each series requires up to seven games to determine a winner.

Conference Finals

The conference finals follow the same best of seven format. Here, the last two teams standing in each conference go head-to-head. The stakes? A trip to the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals

Finally, the Eastern and Western conference champions face off in the Finals. This series is watched globally and is the pinnacle of NBA competition. Like the previous rounds, it's a best of seven, where the first team to four wins takes the NBA title.

Crunching the Numbers

If every playoff series went to a full seven games (which would be both thrilling and exhausting), the maximum number of games in the NBA playoffs would be 105. This includes up to 15 series total (56 games in the first round, and 28 games in the conference semifinals, 14 in the conference finals, and 7 in the NBA Finals). The least number of games would be 60 if teams would sweep each series.

How many games in the NBA playoffs?

There are four rounds in the NBA playoffs - the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and NBA Finals. Each round is a best of seven series.

The exact number of games in the playoffs vary depending on how many games it takes for teams to advance or be eliminated.

Fans can expect at least four rounds and potentially up to 105 games if each series went to 7 games; and only 60 games if each series went to only 4 games each.

The Path to Glory

Navigating through the NBA playoffs is like running a basketball gauntlet. Teams must not only have skill but also endurance, strategy, and sometimes, a sprinkle of luck. From the first tip-off in the play-in tournament to the final buzzer in the NBA Finals, teams play with everything they have to etch their names in NBA history.

NBA Playoff Games FAQ

How many teams qualify for the NBA playoffs?

A total of 16 teams qualify for the NBA playoffs, with eight from each conference.

What is the minimum number of games a team could play in the NBA playoffs?

The minimum is 16 games if a team sweeps every series in the first four rounds.

How does home court advantage work in the NBA playoffs?

Home court advantage is given to the team with the better regular season record, meaning they play more games at their home venue, which can be a significant advantage.

How many rounds are in NBA playoffs?

There are four rounds in the NBA playoffs: the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and NBA Finals. However, with the addition of the play-in tournament in recent years, some may consider it to be an additional "round" leading up to the traditional playoff structure.


The NBA playoffs are a thrilling sequence of games where teams from the Eastern and Western conferences vie for the league championship. Starting with the play-in tournament and moving through several rounds of intense competition, the playoffs can feature up to 105 games if every series extends to seven games. It's a true test of resilience, strategy, and basketball brilliance.