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When do the 2021 NBA Playoffs start?

The 2021 NBA Playoffs will feature a significant new wrinkle. We break down when the playoffs start and end in 2021.

A general view of signage during the game between the LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks during Round One, Game Six of the NBA Playoffs on August 30, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at AdventHealth Arena. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA wraps up the 2020-21 regular season on Sunday, May 16 when all 30 teams will be in action to finalize the 2021 playoff bracket. We know 19 of the 20 playoff teams, with the final spot secured this final weekend. This weekend will also finalize seeding and the last spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

What is the 2021 NBA Playoffs structure?

The playoffs will start with a pair of four-team play-in tournaments. The No. 7 through No. 10 seed in each conference will face off in a three-game tournament. We’ll get a 7/8 matchup and a 9/10 matchup. The winner of the 7/8 game gets the No. 7 seed. The loser of the 7/8 game faces the winner of the 9/10 game for the No. 8 seed.

Once the play-in tournament ends, we’ll have a traditional 16-team format with No. 1 facing No. 8, No. 2 facing no. 7, and so forth in each conference.

When do the 2021 NBA Playoffs start?

The play-in tournament starts on Tuesday, May 18 and concludes on Friday, May 21. That will be followed by the first round of the playoffs. The first round tips off on Saturday, May 22. The final possible day of the 2021 NBA Playoffs is July 22.