Trail Blazers

NBA playoffs 2021: Guide for Blazers with bracket, TV schedule

Trail Blazers

The 2021 NBA playoffs will blend the old with the new.

Playoff basketball will have a familiar feel with teams back inside home arenas instead of the Disney bubble. Some teams will even be ramping up to full capacity as the postseason goes on.

The new aspect to these playoffs will be the league's first Play-In Tournament. While the 2020 playoffs featured a play-in setup where the No. 9 seed in each conference had a new opportunity to make the playoffs, the new format features Nos. 7-10 in each conference fighting for seeding. 

After the regular season’s completion on Sunday, all eyes can officially turn to playoff basketball. 

Here is what you need to know about the playoff schedule, matchups, TV schedule and more:

When are the NBA playoffs 2021?

The Play-In Tournament gets the playoffs started with two games (Game 1 and Game 2) in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, May 18. The next two games (Game 3 and Game 4) will be Western Conference matchups on Wednesday, May 19. The East’s final play-in game (Game 5) will tip off on Thursday, May 20, and the West’s final play-in game (Game 6) will tip off on Friday, May 21.


The playoffs begin in full with four matchups on Saturday, May 22. The conference finals are expected to start in late June, and there is no start date set for the NBA Finals. There is a cutoff date, though, as a champion will be crowned no later than July 22.

Where can I watch the 2021 NBA playoffs?

ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV will all broadcast playoff games.

TNT will broadcast the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament games on May 18 and 20 while ESPN will broadcast the Western Conference Play-In Tournament games on May 19 and 21.

All four networks will broadcast games in both conferences for the first and second rounds of the playoffs, while regional networks will also carry first-round games for their respective teams. From there, TNT will broadcast the entire Eastern Conference finals while ESPN will broadcast the entire Western Conference finals.

ABC will be the home of the 2021 NBA Finals.

What are the 2021 NBA playoff matchups? 

Here is the outlook in the Eastern Conference:

Play-In Tournament

Game 1 No. 10 Charlotte Hornets No. 9 Indiana Pacers
Game 2 No. 8 Washington Wizards No. 7 Boston Celtics
Game 5 Game 1 winner Game 2 winner

First round

No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers Game 5 winner
No. 2 Brooklyn Nets Game 2 winner
No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks No. 6 Miami Heat
No. 4 New York Knicks No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

Here is the outlook in the Western Conference:

Play-In Tournament

Game 3 No. 10 San Antonio Spurs No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies
Game 4 No. 8 Golden State Warriors No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers
Game 6 Game 3 winner Game 4 winner

First round

No. 1 Utah Jazz Game 6 winner
No. 2 Phoenix Suns Game 4 winner
No. 3 Denver Nuggets No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers No. 5 Dallas Mavericks


Is there a NBA playoff bracket in 2021?

Here is the 2021 NBA playoff bracket in full:

Who is the favorite to win the 2021 NBA Finals?

Here are the latest odds for who will take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet:

Nets: +250

Clippers: +450

Lakers: +500

Bucks: +700

Jazz: +700

76ers: +800

Suns: +1800

Nuggets: +3600


Heat: +4000

Mavericks: +5000

Blazers: +8000

Hawks: +10000

Warriors: +15000

Knicks: +15000

Celtics: +20000

Wizards: +25000

Hornets: +50000

Grizzlies: +50000

Pacers: +100000

Spurs: +100000

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Max Molski contributed to this story.