How are the NBA playoffs seeded?
Following the NBA regular season, eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs and are seeded one to eight. The team that has the best record in each of the three divisions in each conference is declared division champion. The three champions, and the one other team in the conference with the best record are seeded one through four by their records. This guarantees that the division champions will be no lower than fourth seed, and also ensures that a conference's two best teams (by record) are ranked as the top two. Of the remaining 11 conference teams, the four with the best records are seeded fifth through eighth based on their records. In the event that two teams end up tied for the same seed, the following tiebreakers are employed: # Head-to-head # Division record (if the teams are in the same division) # Conference record # Record vs. Playoff teams, own conference # Record vs. Playoff teams, other conference # Net points, all games The first round of the playoffs, or Conference Quarterfinals, consists of four matchups in each conference, based on the seedings (1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5). The eight winners advance to the second round, or Conference Semifinals, in which, unlike other leagues (such as the NHL), matchups are set in advance as between the winners of the 1-8 and 4-5 series, and the winners of the 2-7 and 3-6 series, and not based on the seeds of the winners of those series. The winners of these series advance to the NBA Conference Finals, which determines which team in each conference will advance to the NBA Finals, the winner of which is declared the NBA champion. Each round is a best-of-seven series. All series except the NBA Finals are played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, meaning the team with home-court advantage hosts games 1, 2, 5 and 7, while their opponent hosts games 3, 4, and 6, with games 5-7 being played if needed. The NBA Finals are played in a 2-3-2 format, meaning the team with home-court advantage hosts games 1, 2, 6 and 7, and their opponent hosts games 3, 4 and 5. The home-court advantage is determined in all four rounds by record, regardless of seed. Source: Wikipedia
In 2009, the 1 seeded LA Lakers (beat the 8 seeded Utah Jazz 4-1), the 5 seeded Houston Rockets (beat the 4 seeded Portland Trailblazers 4-2), the 6 seesed Dallas Mavericks (beat the 3 seeded San Antonio Spurs 4-1), and the 2 seeded Denver Nuggets (beat the 7 seeded New Orleans Hornets 4-1), all made it to the 2nd round.
In the playoffs, a 'seed' is a ranking. This ranking is usually done by whether a team wins its division or, if they don't win their division, by a team's regular season win/loss record. A team that does not make the playoffs is not seeded ... they don't play anymore so there is no need to 'seed' them.