One day closer to the end of the NBA season and the playoff race is far from over. For the final two spots in the East with have the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. The Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans race for the final seed in the West. To finish second in the Western conference, we have the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers. Nothing is over.
Final Two Spots in the East
The big battle for the 7th and 8th slots in the Eastern conference continue. The Boston Celtics create an edge for themselves with a 38-42 record, while the Nets and Pacers trail by one game. The Miami Heat can’t catch Boston anymore, and their only way of making the playoffs is winning their two remaining games and for both the Pacers and Nets to lose theirs. Boston have Toronto and Milwaukee left, the Nets have Chicago and Orlando, the Pacers have Washington and Memphis while the Heat have Orlando and Philadelphia.
Third in the East
Both the Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors are going to be in the playoffs, likely either third or fourth. But there’s a big difference between the two spots. The Milwaukee Bucks will most likely finish sixth in the East. The Wizards might somehow finish fourth, but it looks like fifth it is for them. Both the Bulls and Raptors prefer playing the Bucks than the Wizards. However, finishing third means probably playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals. Are the Hawks a worse or better draw?
Thunder, Pelicans & 1 remaining spot
It’s pretty simple in the fight for the final spot in the Western conference. Both the Pelicans and Thunder have the same record, but the Pelicans own the tiebreaker edge with their head to head record against Oklahoma City. If they finish the season with the same record, the Pelicans make the playoffs while the Thunder are out.
What’s left? The Pelicans have Minnesota and the Spurs while OKC have to play Portland and the Timberwolves.
The 2-3-5-6 complication
The Spurs have one game left, the other teams (Clippers, Rockets, Grizzlies) have two. Everyone has 26 losses right now, and we’re probably going to see a few more seeding changes, probably in the same night, before this is all over. The Spurs have the Pelicans on the road; the Clippers finish against Denver and Phoenix; the Rockets play Charlotte and Utah; the Grizzlies play Golden State and Indiana.