Sports 101

Earlier this week, the National Basketball Association's regular season ended. But postseason basketball action began last night with the first round of Western Conference and Eastern Conference playoff games. Will the Chicago Bulls win their sixth championship title this decade? Stay tuned until June, when the final two teams battle it out for the much-coveted NBA championship title.

Q: Of the 29 NBA teams, how many advance to the playoffs?

A: Sixteen teams - two division champions in each conference, plus the next six teams with the best records. (There are eight total from each of the Eastern and Western Conferences.) The division champions get the top two seeds in each conference, and the team with the best record is seeded first.

Q: If a team is already in the playoffs, what is the importance of a team's seed?

A: The higher a team's seed, the better chance it has of advancing into the playoffs because it won't compete against a team of the same caliber. For instance, No. 1 Chicago Bulls will play against No. 8 New Jersey Nets.

Q: What is the playoff schedule?

A: For the first round of playoffs, the matchups for each conference are: No. 1 vs. No. 8; No. 2 vs. No. 7; No. 3 vs. No. 6; and No. 4 vs. No. 5. The team with the better record holds home-court advantage.

Q: How many games are in each playoff round?

A: The first round of playoffs is best-of-five games, and each succeeding round, including the NBA finals, is best-of-seven games.

* Send your sports questions to parneyl@csps.com

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