Things are coming down to the final two days of the NBA season, with plenty of playoff spots to be handed out: The last one in the East between the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers & Brooklyn Nets, final one in the West up for grabs as the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans do battle while the second seed and home court advantage (for some of the postseason) are up for grabs in the Western conference, as the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are in the mix.
Last Spot in the East
With the Boston Celtics clinching their playoff spot, we’re down to three teams fighting for just one slot: The Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat. The Heat have just one option to go in: Win their one remaining game and for the Nets (one game left) and Pacers (two games) to lose whatever they have remaining on the schedule. In case the Nets and Pacers end up having the same record, the Nets have the tiebreaker advantage thanks to the head to head record.
The Heat end the season against the 76ers, the Nets play the Orlando Magic while the Pacers have both Washington and Memphis on their list.
Finishing Third in the East
The Bulls and Raptors both will have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The only remaining question is who finished third, which earns a series with the Bucks, while fourth means playing the Wizards in the first round. The Bulls have one game left (home vs the Hawks); the Raptors, 0.5 games behind the Bulls, have two (Boston & Charlotte). If both teams finish with the same record, Raptors finish third.
Two For the Last Ticket in the West
Things couldn’t be any simpler than they are in the race to finish 8th in the West. The New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder have the same record heading into their final game of the season. The Pelicans have the head to head advantage. In short? The only way the Thunder can make the playoffs is if they win their game against Minnesota and the Pelicans are beaten by the Spurs.
The Complex Second Seed and Home Court Advantage Out West
The Memphis Grizzlies put a dent in the weird situation of four teams with the same record by losing, leaving the Spurs (2nd), Clippers (3rd) and Rockets (5th) with a 0.5 game advantage as all four teams head into their final game of the season. The Spurs are playing the Pelicans, the Clippers have the Suns, the Rockets face the Jazz while the Grizzlies have Indiana.