It’s here: The final day of the 2014-2015 NBA Season, and with it come the decisions regarding the playoffs. Who finishes 8th in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder or New Orleans Pelicans? Which team makes it into the playoffs out of the East, the Indiana Pacers or Brooklyn Nets? And finally, finally sorting out the seeding mess in the Western conference between the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies.
Final Ticket to the Eastern playoff train
The Boston Celtics have clinched 7th place, which means it’s down to two teams now that the Miami Heat are all out of options and will miss the postseason after four consecutive NBA finals. The Indiana Pacers or the Brooklyn Nets? The Pacers have the one game edge, and can only miss the playoffs if they lose to the Memphis Grizzlies and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Orlando Magic. Problem? The Grizzlies are much better than the Magic, and have something to play for. Other problem? The Nets have lost their last two games by more than 20 points each.
Third in the East
There’s also the decision about #3 in the Eastern conference. Because the Raptors lost to the Celtics, they fall to fourth, and can only usurp the Bulls’ spot if Chicago lose to the Atlanta Hawks (in Chicago) while the Raptors host the Charlotte Hornets, and have no other option but to beat them and hope for the best.
8th in the West
Very simple. Oklahoma City Thunder, or the New Orleans Pelicans. Both teams have the same record. The Pelicans hold the head to head record. The Pelicans end the season with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs with a lot to play for. The Thunder pay a visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The only way the Thunder make the playoffs is if the Pelicans lose while they beat Minnesota.
Solving the complicated Western equation
This table might help you figure it out, before we add a little ourselves:
The Clippers have already won and finished the season. So what needs to happen for them to end up as the number two seed? For the Rockets and Spurs to lose. Houston are playing the Utah Jazz, the Spurs are playing the Pelicans. Houston will finish second if they win and the Spurs lose.The Grizzlies will finish either fifth (which means playing the Blazers in the first round) or sixth, can’t go any higher than that. Any team finishing fifth will play Portland and have home court advantage in the first round.