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How many games are in the first round of the NBA Playoffs?

The first round of the NBA Playoffs is a best-of-seven series.

The NBA Playoffs have made some recent tweaks with the advent of the Play-In Tournament to determine the last two teams for each conference. Previously, the NBA used to have a best-of-five for the first round too. That led to some big upsets with only needing three wins to advance to the second round. That’s likely why the NBA didn’t stick with that format and kept things consistent with a best-of-seven format for every series.

So if you’re watching the NBA Playoffs this year and see the Boston Celtics up 2-0 on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, they aren’t one game away from advancing to the second round. And, conversely, the Nets aren’t one game away from being swept out of the first round and ending a very disappointing season much earlier than everyone thought when the season started.

Are the NBA Playoffs a best of 5 or 7?

Playing a best-of-five series is just too small a sample size and leaves too much room for freaky things to happen and too much variance for inferior teams to pull off a stunning upset. The NBA doesn’t want their best teams with the best players and biggest TV draws going out in five or fewer games.

The more games, the more likely it is the better team wins. It’s why you don’t see too many lower-seeded teams win in the NBA Playoffs like you do in the NCAA Tournament. But that’s a conversation for another day.

The NBA got it right going to a best-of-seven series across the board throughout the playoffs. The first team to win four games advances to the next round.


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