1. Playoffs Are Starting Late
Each team only plays 66 games this season, compared to the regular 82, because of the NBA lockout. The playoffs will extend longer into June due to the setback.
2. Only 16 Teams Make Playoffs
Playoff games are separate from regular season games. The top eight teams from the west coast and the top eight teams from the east coast are chosen for playoff games. They compete against each other by rank in a seven game series–highest versus lowest, best four out of seven. This means the no. 1 team on the West plays the no. 8 ranked team on the West, the no. 2 team plays the no. 7 team, and so on. Same goes for the East. When both coasts are down to its last team, they face each other in the NBA Finals.
3. Home Court Advantage
Teams with the better records have home court advantage, but home court advantage is only applied if the series reaches its seventh game. The lowest ranked team, at max, has a chance to play at their home court three times. The highest ranked team, four.