The NBA Playoffs are less than one month away, and things are wild in the Western Conference. Just three games separate fifth and 11th, and things change daily. There are eight teams fighting for playoff spots, but four of those squads will have to go through the Play-In Tournament to get there.
The Dallas Mavericks are stuck in the middle of that mess. Their win over the Lakers moved them into a tie for sixth as Dallas desperately tries to avoid the Play-In Tournament. They have 11 games left, and every single one is important down the stretch.
Here is a look at everything fans need to know about the 2023 NBA Playoffs from the format, dates, predictions, and more before looking at what to expect from Dallas when the games matter most.
How many teams make the NBA Playoffs?
16 teams qualify for the NBA Playoffs. It is eight from each conference with the top six being determined by regular season record using these tiebreakers. The final two have to qualify through the Play-In Tournament.
What is the format for the NBA Playoffs?
NBA Playoffs bracket: Teams are seeded with the franchise with the best regular season record facing the final team to advance to the playoffs through the Play-In Tournament. The fourth and fifth-best regular season records in each conference square off for the right to play the winner of the one versus eight match up. The first-round showdowns in the opposition half of the bracket are three versus six and two against seven.
NBA Playoffs series: There are four rounds of the NBA Playoffs and each consists of a seven-game series. Teams must win four to advance with the winners of each conference squaring off the NBA Finals.
NBA Playoffs homecourt advantage: The higher-seeded team has homecourt advantage in each round, except the NBA Finals, where the advantage is determined by their regular season record. The higher seed hosts Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 in every series.
When do the 2023 NBA Playoffs start
The NBA Playoffs open on April 15 with the first round. Each round has a start date range, but the NBA Finals are penned in for June 1.
What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?
The Play-In Tournament started in 2020. Teams seven through ten in each conference now battle it out over three games to see who gets the final two playoff spots. Seven faces eight in a one-game matchup with the winner advancing as the seventh seed. The loser faces the winner of the nine versus ten battle for the final spot.
When are the 2023 NBA Finals?
The NBA always releases the schedule for the finals in advance, and here are the dates for this year.
- NBA Finals Game 1 — June 1, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 2 — June 4, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 3 — June 7, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 4 — June 9, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 5 (if necessary) — June 12, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 6 (if necessary) — June 15, 2023
- NBA Finals Game 7 (if necessary) — June 18, 2023
2023 NBA Playoff predictions
There is a lot to be decided over the final weeks, but here is a look at how I see things finishing this year.
Western Conference seeds
1. Denver Nuggets
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. Sacramento Kings
4. Phoenix Suns
5. LA Clippers
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Los Angeles Lakers
9. Oklahoma City Thunder
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
Eastern Conference seeds
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Boston Celtics
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. New York Knicks
6. Brooklyn Nets
7. Miami Heat
8. Atlanta Hawks
9. Toronto Raptors
10. Chicago Bulls
2023 NBA Playoff predictions
West Play-In: Warriors over Lakers, Timberwolves over Thunder, Lakers over Timberwolves
East Play-In: Heat over Hawks, Raptors over Bulls, Raptors over Hawks
West 1st round: Nuggets over Lakers, Suns over Clippers, Mavericks over Kings, Warriors over Grizzlies
East 1st round: Bucks over Raptors, Cavaliers over Knicks, Sixers over Nets, Celtics over Heat
West 2nd round: Suns over Nuggets, Warriors over Mavericks
East 2nd round: Bucks over Cavaliers, Celtics over Sixers
West Conference Finals: Warriors over Suns
East Conference Finals: Bucks over Celtics
NBA Finals: Bucks over Warriors
How will the Dallas Mavericks perform in the 2023 NBA Playoffs?
The Dallas Mavericks are a dangerous opponent because they have Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. No team will look forward to facing that superstar duo, but their defense will ultimately not be strong enough for Dallas to make a run. The Mavericks could win a series, but that is where their luck will run out.
The Dallas Mavericks need an offseason to fill holes in their roster around Doncic and Irving, and they are a team to watch closely this summer, so stay tuned.