The path to the championship is open: NPR


Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket during Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. The new format of the league offers more teams the opportunity to enter the playoffs, while at the same time providing exciting elimination games for fans to start the tournament.

Nathaniel S. via Getty Images. Butler / NBAE


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Nathaniel S. via Getty Images. Butler / NBAE


Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket during Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. The new format of the league offers more teams the opportunity to enter the playoffs, while at the same time providing exciting elimination games for fans to start the tournament.

Nathaniel S. via Getty Images. Butler / NBAE

NBA post-season notes are due out on Tuesday, and star-studded teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers have already been eliminated and it remains unclear who will be this year’s favorites with big name injuries.

Everything you need to know is here.

What are playing games?

The best teams at each Eastern and Western conferences are ranked 1-10 based on their regular season records.

The teams that make up the top eight from each conference are guaranteed to play in the playoff series, but the NBA rocked the old format by introducing a play-in tournament last year, which ended in a single elimination series of 7-10. Games for the final two playoff places in the respective conference.

For the 7th and 8th ranked teams it is “win and you are”, the loser of that match will win the match between the 9th and 10th ranked teams.

While this may seem a little complicated, the new format of the league offers more teams the opportunity to enter the playoffs, while at the same time providing exciting elimination games for fans to start the tournament.

The first play-off games are the last chance for four teams to enter on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The Phoenix Sons, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will not know their first-round opponents until Friday’s games.

Still confused? Here is a brief overview of who is playing who.

Which teams are playing in the Eastern Conference, and who can they face?


Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, along with Kyrie Irving, will turn the team into strong opponents.

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Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, along with Kyrie Irving, will turn the team into strong opponents.

Sarah Stear / Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers will play the Brooklyn Nets in New York City in the first game of the tournament on Tuesday night, with the winner facing the Boston Celtics in the first round.

Cleveland has struggled with injuries this season, with Ricky Rubio tearing up his ACL before being traded to the Indiana Pacers and Colin Sexton wanting to get out regardless of how deep Caves goes in throughout the season. All-star Jared Allen has also been sidelined for the past one month with head coach JP Pickerstaff due to a finger fracture. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

They will face a strong Brooklyn Nets team that has already beaten them a week ago and includes superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The Nets have been hampered for most of the season as star player Kyrie Irving was recently allowed to play home games after refusing to vaccinate Covid-19. Irving is the highest-ranking athlete affected by vaccine orders.

If the Nets win the play-offs of the week, it is hoped that injured guard Guard Ben Simmons, who was traded from Philadelphia, will appear in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The loser of Tuesday’s game will face the winner of Wednesday’s Do-or-die game between the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta hopes to repeat last season’s surprise playoff run, where they advanced to the final of the Eastern Conference. They were later defeated by NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Wednesday’s match will feature two of the league’s young stars, along with 23 – year – old Trey Young of Atlanta. Became one of two players To highlight the league in total points and total aids.

Charlotte hopes second-year star Lamelo Ball will play a key role in the tournament, becoming the fourth youngest player in history to make an All-Star game this year, after Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.

The top-ranked Miami Heat will play the winning team in Friday’s game.

What’s in a Western Conference Play-in Games?

The Los Angeles Clippers look like a team that can take a run in this year’s NBA playoffs, having lost star player Paul George most of the season with a torn elbow in the shooting elbow. But George comes back and confronts the Minnesota Timberwolves at 9:30 on Tuesday night.

George is not the only Clippers star to miss playing time due to injury.

Twice finals MVP Kawhi Leonard hopes the team will be healthy enough to play for the first time since tearing his ACL in June.

Although it is not known if he will feature in this week’s play-off match, there is hope that he can come back if the team takes a run. Because both George and Leonard are healthy, clippers can make other teams nervous.

The winner between LA and Minnesota will play Memphis ChrisLice in the first round this weekend.

West Single Elimination Game between New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs at 9:30 pm and Wednesday. Spurs have missed the playoffs for the past two seasons after appearing every year between 1998 and 2019. During that extension the team won five NBA Championships.

The winner will face the loser in the LA vs Minnesota match on Tuesday night.

What about the other teams in the West?


Chris Paul of Phoenix Suns hopes to return to the NBA Final for the second time in his life.

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Chris Paul of Phoenix Suns hopes to return to the NBA Final for the second time in his life.

Ezra Shah / Getty Images

Of all the teams already guaranteed a playoff berth, the hottest one in the West, Devin Booker and Chris Paul-led Phoenix Sons, should have recorded the league’s best regular season record of 64-18.

Paul, who turns 37 next month, hopes to return to the NBA Finals for the second time in his career. Considered one of the best point guards in the game, it was Paul’s first shot at a championship before being beaten by Milwaukee Bux last year’s finalist. Paul missed 15 games with a fractured thumb at the end of the regular season.

Even if Paul returns healthy it will not be easy to return to the Phoenix NBA Finals. Fierce opponents at the Western Conference are looking for their own shot at the title.

When the Dallas Mavericks face Utah Jazz, they will lean on their star player Luka Doncić, who came out of Sunday’s game with a left calf injury. The Golden State Warriors face Nicola Jokic and Denver Nuggets, returning to the playoffs for the first time since losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Final.

After last season’s MVP, the jockey became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season, leading to the award again this season.

Memphis Grizzlies and their electric young star Ja Morant are another team to watch out for. ChrisLice will face the winner of LA and Minnesota.

Who is leading in the East?

The NBA’s Eastern Conference is very open, with the top 10 teams all ending the season within 10 games of each other.

First place with Miami Heat, Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia

Defending champions Milwaukee Bucks face the Chicago Bulls in the first round, while star player Gianni Antotocounbo will be considered for a third league MVP.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Empide is another name that will continue to grow with MVP candidate Antetokounmpo and Jokić. Born in Cameroon, Embide recently became the first international player to win the NBA scoring title this season with an average of 30.6 points.

Philadelphia face Toronto Raptors and potential rookie Scotty Born of the Year in the first round of the playoffs. Matisse Thybulle does not meet Canada’s vaccination requirements and will not be allowed to play, leaving the Sixers at a slight disadvantage during their road games.

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