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Division championships not so important anymore

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA will now seed playoff teams solely by their record, throwing out the top-four protection for teams who win their divisions.

The expected change was unanimously approved Tuesday by the league’s Board of Governors. Teams in each conference will now be seeded from one to eight by their won-loss record.

Previously, division winners were guaranteed no worse than the No. 4 seed, a rule that became heavily criticized last season when Portland ended up No. 4 in the powerful Western Conference despite the sixth-best record in the conference.

The league also changed the tiebreaker procedures, making head-to-head results the first tiebreaker for seeding and home-court advantage, and whether a team won its division second. A division winner previously got the home-court advantage if it met a team with the same record in the playoffs.

Bobby Marks tweeted that he believes the change will soon be followed by the demise of divisions themselves.

The Nets won the Atlantic division in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2005-06.