NBA alters playoff seeding system
Changes will keep top two teams in conference from early matchup
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The NBA reshuffled its playoff seeding system Wednesday to ensure a conference's two best teams won't meet in the semifinals.
The first four seeds in each conference will continue to be given to the three division winners and the team with the next best regular season record.
However, the four teams will now be seeded in order of their regular season records under a new rule created by the league's Board of Governors.
The alteration would prevent the two teams with the best record in a conference from meeting before the conference finals.
Last season, Dallas and San Antonio played in the conference semifinals even though they were the top two teams in the Western Conference.
The league also shortened timeouts and increased the size of playoff rosters.
The timeout change was made to make the end of a game shorter. If a team has two 60-second timeouts left in the last two minutes of regulation or in overtime, one of the two timeouts will be shortened to 20 seconds. Instead of three 60-second timeouts in overtime, teams will have two full timeouts and a 20. Teams will no longer be permitted to carry a 20-second timeout over to overtime.
The size of playoff roster were increased from 13 to 15 players, with each team designating 12 active players and up to three inactive players prior to each game.
"Our owners are intent on making the playoff seeding more fair for all teams going forward and in quickening the pace of the end of games," said Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. "The Board also thought it made sense to allow teams to utilize the same 15-man roster in the playoffs that they use during the regular season."