With four days remaining in the 2014-2015 NBA season, there are a few remaining playoff battles to look out for: The final, 8th seed in the West between the Oklahoma City Thunder & New Orleans Pelicans; the final two spots in the East, with the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat involved; and the complicated attempt to finish second in the West, involving the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets.
Pelicans or Thunder
The Golden State Warriors will finish first in the West, but the question remains – are they going to play the Pelicans or the Thunder? At the moment, with both teams tied at 43-36, the Pelicans have the edge because of a better head to head record (3-1 against the Thunder) but also a better conference record, which doesn’t matter at this point. Both teams have three games left to play, and the Thunder need the Pelicans to lose one more than they do.
Thunder remaining games: @Indiana (a team with something to play for), vs Portland (a team without, pretty much), @Minnesota (a team in full tank mode but playing to win).
Pelicans remaining games: @Houston (have something to play for), @Minnesota (see above), vs Spurs (a team with something to play for).
The complicated West
A little bit above the Pelicans/Thunder desperation battle, there’s a four-way battle between the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers to finish second in the West. Remember – the seeding doesn’t decide home court advantage, records do, which is why the Blazers, who are fourth in the West, are going to play on the road regardless of who is fifth because of their inferior record.
Right now things are extremely close – the Clippers, Grizzlies and Spurs are all at 54-26 while the Rockets, who share the same division with the Spurs and Grizzlies, have a 53-26 record. The Clippers won’t win their division (Warriors, duh) but can finish second. Winning the division only promises a place in the top 4, and right now it’s a three way battle between the Spurs, Grizzlies and Rockets.
Right now, there are still too many options left on the table, but all four can finish 2-3-5-6. It’s going to be a very interesting four days.
Eastern lowly battles
The Eastern conference is going to give us at least two teams with a losing record in the postseason if not three. The Milwaukee Bucks (6th in the conference) at 39-40 can still redeem themselves, but they haven’t clinched a playoff spot, although one more win will do it for them.
The interesting stuff is happening below, as the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics (both at 37-42) have a small edge over the Indiana Pacers (36-43) and probably don’t have to worry about the Miami Heat who are 35-45, needing to win both of their remaining games and for at least two of their rivals for the playoff spot to lose their remaining three.