The NBA playoffs opened with a pack of title contenders that was deeper than usual and full of new blood. None of the conference finalists from the bubble playoffs claimed a top-two seed in their respective conferences and last season’s Finals teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, were eliminated in the first round.

The Phoenix Suns survived in the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks won the Eastern Conference. After falling behind 2-0 in the NBA Finals, the Bucks won the next four games to earn their first NBA title since 1971.

Here’s a look at the final postseason results:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Playoff bracket
  • Playoff results
  • Why did the NBA need a play-in tournament?
  • Will there be a play-in tournament next season?
  • How will coronavirus protocols factor into the playoffs?

Playoff bracket

Playoff results

NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee wins series, 4-2

Eastern Conference finals

No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

Milwaukee wins series, 4-2

Western Conference finals

No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers

Phoenix wins series, 4-2

Eastern Conference second round

No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta wins series, 4-3

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee wins series, 4-3

Western Conference second round

No. 1 Utah Jazz vs. No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers

L.A. Clippers win series, 4-2

No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Phoenix wins series, 4-0

Western Conference first round

No. 1 Utah Jazz (52-20) vs. No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies (38-34)

Utah wins series, 4-1

No. 2 Phoenix Suns (51-21) vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers (42-30)

Phoenix wins series, 4-2

No. 3 Denver Nuggets (47-25) vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers (42-30)

Denver wins series, 4-2

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (47-25) vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks (42-30)

Eastern Conference first round

No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers (49-23) vs. No. 8 Washington (34-38)

Philadelphia wins series, 4-1

No. 2 Brooklyn Nets (48-24) vs. No. 7 Boston (36-36)

Brooklyn wins series, 4-1

No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (46-26) vs. No. 6 Miami Heat (40-32)

Milwaukee wins series, 4-0

No. 4 New York Knicks (41-31) vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks (41-31)

Atlanta wins series, 4-1

Western Conference play-in

Eastern Conference play-in

Why did the NBA need a play-in tournament?

Technically, they didn’t, and there’s been some debate about the value of its existence. On one hand, you’ve got LeBron James, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban complaining about the play-in as an event that invalidates a team’s body of work in the regular season.

On the other hand, the play-in tournament is an antidote to both tanking and the usual dog days of the NBA season because it incentivizes teams with mediocre-to-bad records at the end of the year. The Washington Wizards, for example, appeared dead in the water with little to play for without the play-in format. But this season, they went all-out to claim a spot in the play-in tournament in the East all for … a shot at playing the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the actual playoffs. Stephen Curry might not have been busting scoreboards if not for the play-in.

The league has been batting around the idea of a play-in for more than a decade — read about that more in Ben Golliver’s interview with the unofficial play-in czar himself — but there’s little question as to why they instated it this year: TV revenue. More eyeballs on the sport later in the season is always good for the league, especially when the league is coming off a pandemic-interrupted season in which it lost, to be exact, a metric ton of revenue.

As an added benefit, the play-in helped teams such as the Wizards, who were one of a few clubs decimated by the coronavirus this season, get a chance to make up games in a season with so many unforeseen circumstances.

Will there be a play-in tournament next season?

No one knows! The Board of Governors will have to vote on the issue during the offseason.

How will coronavirus protocols factor into the playoffs?

The league earlier in the season batted around the idea of reentering a bubble environment for the playoffs, similar to the one it used last summer to complete the season, but with vaccines now widely available that chatter has almost completely faded. Players, coaches and team personnel will still be regularly tested, and many of the same health and safety protocols the NBA has enforced all season will remain in effect during the postseason.