At times, in the NBA, players make the mistake of thinking the playoffs and regular season are the same, but the playoffs are more intense and games should be approached differently since the pace slows down and every possession becomes valuable.
In general, coaching is important, and it means that much more in the postseason. Coaches need to keep their players focused on the task at hand and need to make game-by-game adjustments.
Teams cannot get too high on wins or too low on losses, and teams with the right mentality are the ones who handle themselves the best.
In terms of style of play, the game is no longer a track meet. The game slows down and becomes a hit first mentality. Old veteran teams like to play in the half court set while younger and more athletic teams like the transition game.
Young teams with little playoff experience usually learn this the hard way. They need to understand that the playoffs are all about stopping your opponent rather than trying to outscore them.
The atmosphere in the arena during the playoffs is rather different. When April rolls along, fans get more into the game and become louder and rowdier. Players usually feed off the energy of the crowd during the playoffs. Some players consider their fans "the sixth man" of the team due to their eccentric support.
One of the most devastating things in the NBA is all the traveling during the season. Time difference and traveling can really affect a team's consistency, especially on the second night of back to backs. But with how the playoffs are formatted, it is not as bad because teams have a break in between games, and they stay put in one city for a while.
However, everyone is more focused in the playoffs because it is win or go home. In the playoffs, it is first to win four games in a series, so there is no room for error. You need to establish yourself early in the series and can't play catch up and expect to win.
Players are also more assertive. Even the media is more interesting, as players do take this more seriously and are more open to answering questions. They also try to avoid stuff like social media, as some players close down their accounts to stay more focused.
If you're a superstar talent, then you will be judged on your individual success in the postseason. It seems like in today's game for superstars nobody is interested in what you do in the season. They care about what happens when it is April. This is also a way to cement your legacy.
Conclusively, the postseason is just an exciting time for basketball fans. Sixteen teams go out there and play for the ultimate goal in sports, and that is to win a championship. Players and coaches have a passion and a drive to do whatever it takes to win a title.