LeBron James’ debut season in Los Angeles surely didn’t go how he hoped it would, and the Lakers, who finished the regular season 10th in the Western Conference, extended their playoff drought to six years. But Staples Center will still play host to an NBA first-round series, when the Clippers tip off against Golden State. The series starts at Oakland Saturday night.
Demand for this year’s NBA playoffs is strong, with the Golden State Warriors commanding $480 on the secondary market for a ticket at Oakland, according to secondary ticket marketplace TicketIQ.com. Only the 2108 Warriors with a $538 average, and the 2016 Warriors with a $482 average were higher this decade.
The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday and Sunday with four games each day. Depending on the lengths of the first-round series, the Conference Semifinals could begin as early as April 28, and the NBA Finals are set to start on May 30, the earliest start since 1986.
Secondary market average asking prices range from a low of $117 for the Milwaukee Bucks-Detroit Pistons series, to a high of $388 for the Toronto Raptors-Orlando Magic series, according to TicketIQ.com. The cheapest get-in price anywhere in the NBA is $30 at San Antonio, though fans can get into games at Denver and Indiana for as little as $32.
Below is a look at all eight first-round matchups.
- Series average asking price: $171
- Milwaukee average asking price/get-in price: $230/$82
- Detroit average asking price/get-in price: $93/$32
The Bucks closed out the regular season as the only 60-game winner in the NBA, and enter the postseason as a favorite to win the Eastern Conference. This first round should easily go to Milwaukee, as Detroit advanced to the playoffs as an 8-seed, and had a .500 record. Tickets on the secondary market for this series are the cheapest of all the NBA first-round playoff series, and the $93 average in Detroit is the lowest anywhere in the league. The Pistons and the Bucks have played four times in the playoffs, most recently in 2006, and Detroit has won every time.
|Game 1 @ MIL||$238||$82|
|Game 2 @ MIL||$161||$83|
|Game 3 @ DET||$89||$40|
|Game 4 @ DET||$86||$32|
|Game 5 @ MIL||$213||$97|
|Game 6 @ DET||$103||$40|
|Game 7 @ MIL||$308||$138|
- Series average asking price: $388
- Toronto average asking price/get-in price: $404/$92
- Orlando average asking price/get-in price: $368/$91
The Raptors finished the season with the second best record in the NBA behind Eastern Conference champion Milwaukee — and ahead of Western Conference champion Golden State (57 wins). The $388 series average asking price on the secondary market is the highest across the NBA, and the $404 average for a game at Toronto is the highest in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors and Magic have met only one other time in the playoffs, in 2008, when Orlando won. The Magic, which finished seventh in the Eastern Conference, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12.
|Game 1 @ TOR||$470||$122|
|Game 2 @ TOR||$295||$92|
|Game 3 @ ORL||$437||$107|
|Game 4 @ ORL||$239||$91|
|Game 5 @ TOR||$428||$95|
|Game 6 @ ORL||$426||$205|
|Game 7 @ TOR||$422||$115|
- Series average asking price: $317
- Philadelphia average asking price/get-in price: $254/$68
- Brooklyn average asking price/get-in price: $400/$115
This series is the second most expensive on the secondary market in the Eastern Conference, and the average asking price for a game at Philadelphia is one of four with an average asking price of $400 or more across the NBA. The 76ers and Nets have met two other times in the postseason, and each team has won one series. Philadelphia finished the regular season third in the Eastern Conference and is making its second consecutive playoff appearance after a five-year drought. The Nets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.
|Game 1 @ PHI||$188||$70|
|Game 2 @ PHI||$196||$68|
|Game 3 @ BRK||$345||$115|
|Game 4 @ BRK||$385||$120|
|Game 5 @ PHI||$315||$90|
|Game 6 @ BRK||$469||$180|
|Game 7 @ PHI||$319||$99|
- Series average asking price: $223
- Boston average asking price/get-in price: $303/$65
- Indiana average asking price/get-in price: $115/$32
This meeting marks the sixth time the Celts and Pacers have met in the NBA playoffs, and Boston holds a 3-2 all-time playoff series advantage. This time around, the series is the second cheapest in the Eastern Conference, and is a fairly even matchup. Through the regular season, the Celtics won one more game than the Pacers, though Boston won three of four against Indianapolis during the regular season, including beating Indiana 117-97 on April 5.
|Game 1 @ BOS||$265||$78|
|Game 2 @ BOS||$243||$65|
|Game 3 @ IND||$106||$33|
|Game 4 @ IND||$96||$32|
|Game 5 @ BOS||$282||$75|
|Game 6 @ IND||$144||$36|
|Game 7 @ BOS||$422||$107|
- Series average asking price: $380
- Golden State average asking price/get-in price: $480/$105
- Los Angeles average asking price/get-in price: $247/$82
This series has the highest average asking price in the Western Conference, and second highest across the NBA, behind only the Toronto-Orlando series. The defending champion Golden State Warriors won the Western Conference with the third-best record in the league. These teams have met only one other time in the playoffs – in 2014, when the Clippers won. Los Angeles enters the series as a No. 8 seed and has a spotty playoff history. The Clippers have never gotten past the second round of the playoffs.
|Game 1 @ GSW||$462||$110|
|Game 2 @ GSW||$480||$108|
|Game 3 @ LAC||$232||$84|
|Game 4 @ LAC||$217||$82|
|Game 5 @ GSW||$442||$105|
|Game 6 @ LAC||$293||$91|
|Game 7 @ GSW||$537||$170|
- Series average asking price: $207
- Denver average asking price/get-in price: $225/$58
- San Antonio average asking price/get-in price: $182/$30
This series has the second lowest average asking price across the NBA and is the cheapest in the Western Conference. These teams have an extensive playoff history, but it’s San Antonio that has dominated. In six previous meetings, the Spurs have won five times. The Nuggets won the Northwest Division during the regular season while the Spurs finished seventh, but in the tightly packed Western Conference, that was only a difference of Denver winning six more games.
|Game 1 @ DEN||$120||$58|
|Game 2 @ DEN||$188||$59|
|Game 3 @ SAS||$161||$30|
|Game 4 @ SAS||$168||$35|
|Game 5 @ DEN||$266||$75|
|Game 6 @ SAS||$216||$72|
|Game 7 @ DEN||$328||$73|
- Series average asking price: $277
- Portland average asking price/get-in price: $271/$45
- Oklahoma City average asking price/get-in price: $285/$60
These teams are 2-2 against each other in the playoffs and last met in the postseason in 1991. There’s little rivalry here, as is reflected by demand, which is the second cheapest in the Western Conference and the fifth cheapest in the NBA. Portland is making its sixth straight playoff appearance, but has only advanced past the first round twice in that span, while Oklahoma City is making its fourth straight appearance and was one game away from getting to the NBA Finals in 2015-16.
|Game 1 @ POR||$257||$89|
|Game 2 @ POR||$234||$45|
|Game 3 @ OKC||$287||$75|
|Game 4 @ OKC||$255||$60|
|Game 5 @ POR||$230||$64|
|Game 6 @ OKC||$312||$63|
|Game 7 @ POR||$362||$126|
- Series average asking price: $325
- Houston average asking price/get-in price: $418/$54
- Utah average asking price/get-in price: $202/$62
The $418 average asking price on the secondary market for a seat at Houston is the second highest in the NBA, behind only Golden State, and the series average is third in the league. These teams have a rich playoff history, including last season’s second-round affair when Houston beat Utah in five games. The teams have played eight times in the postseason. The Jazz have advanced to the second round in each of the last two seasons, and are likely hoping for more this time around. The Rockets were a game away from advancing to the Finals in 2017-18, losing to eventual champion Golden State in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
|Game 1 @ HOU||$309||$54|
|Game 2 @ HOU||$306||$55|
|Game 3 @ UTA||$229||$84|
|Game 4 @ UTA||$204||$62|
|Game 5 @ HOU||$528||$104|
|Game 6 @ UTA||$171||$70|
|Game 7 @ HOU||$530||$182|
Below is a look at the top ten most expensive first round series over the last decade based on average list price and get-in price: