When do the NBA playoffs start?

The NBA playoffs
The NBA playoffs / Pool/GettyImages

As the NBA calendar flips from the all-star break to the proverbial second half of the season, we see a shift in focus towards the stretch run and the playoffs. They are within sight now for the top teams and an attainable goal for the teams in the middle of the pack.

But for the Hornets, they are barely even an afterthought. While maybe not mathematically eliminated, they can be counted out in just about every other sense. The Hornets will be watching the playoffs from home for the eighth straight season, the longest active drought in the NBA.

Charlotte did make the NBA play-in tournament as the 10 seed in both 2021 and 2022 but lost in the opening game handily on both occasions. The Hornets would have to make up a 10.5-game deficit over their remaining 28 games to pass the current 10-seed Atlanta Hawks.

So when does the play-in tournament start?

The 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament is scheduled to take place from Tuesday, April 16th through Friday, April 19th. The final day of the regular season will be April 14th, so each team will have at least one day off before taking the floor.

The 9 seed from each conference will face the 10 seed with the loser being eliminated. The same night, the 7 seed will play the 8 seed. The winner of that game will automatically earn the 7 seed while the loser will face the winner of the 9/10 game to earn the 8 seed.

When do the actual playoffs start?

The first round of the NBA playoffs is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 20th, one day after the final play-in tournament game. But whatever team wins on Friday night will have at least one day off to travel before starting their first-round series.

The playoffs will play out until the NBA finals, which are scheduled to start on Thursday, June 6th, while a potential game 7 would take place on Sunday, June 23rd. Along with holding the NBA’s longest active playoff drought, the Hornets also lay claim to the longest active playoff series victory drought as the team hasn’t even managed to win a first-round series since the 2003-04 season.