Tuesday, May 21 2024

Adam Silver couldn’t have written the script any better himself — with one day and one game per team left on the NBA schedule, 15 of the league’s 20 postseason spots remain undecided. Look at the options.

Here’s everything you need to know heading into the final day of the NBA season (where all 30 teams will play.

One note: Because of all the volatility and every team playing at the same time (either 1 or 3:30 p.m. Eastern), don’t expect teams try to manipulate a win or loss to get a matchup they want in the first round. For example, teams in 6-8 in the West may want to try and face Oklahoma City or Minnesota instead of Denver, but because any of those teams top can end up 1-3, it makes it very difficult to target a matchup.

Eastern Conference scenarios

Boston is locked in as the No. 1 seed.

• The biggest game of the day, the one that will influence the most seedings, is Milwaukee at Orlando (and Giannis Antetokounmpo is still out for that game). If Milwaukee wins, they are the No. 2 seed. However, if they lose they most likely fall to the No. 4 seed (there is a chance they are third, but it would take the Cavaliers losing to the Hornets, or the Knicks losing to the Bulls, but of which are unlikely).

• Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia are all tied at 46-35 for seeds 5-7 in the East, with the Heat lurking one game behind all of them.

• Orlando beating Milwaukee does not mean they automatically get to hold on to the No. 5 seed — they need one of the Pacers to lose to the Hawks, or the 76ers to lose to the Nets, or a string of losses by the Heat, Pacers and 76ers. However, as long as Orlando wins it cannot fall lower than six and will avoid the play-in.

• If Orlando loses, it could fall to seventh (if the Heat also lose) or eighth if the Heat, Magic, and 76ers all win.

• Current No. 7 seed Philadephia can jump out of the play-in with a win over Brooklyn, but they need help with either Orlando or Indiana losing as well. If all three of those teams win, Philly remains the No. 7 seed and has to face Miami in the play-in. There are a number of scenarios where a 76ers win also nets them the No. 6 seed. However, if the 76ers fall to Brooklyn they are not moving up and would fall to the No. 8 seed and be on the road for the first play-in game if Heat and Magic both win.

• Miami could climb all the way from No. 8 to No. 5, but a lot of things have to break its way. Not only does it have to beat Toronto but Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia all have to lose. The Heat have to win to have a chance to move up to No. 6 (Magic and Pacers or Sixers lose) or No. 7 (Magic or 76ers lose). If Miami loses on Sunday, it will stay at No. 8.

Chicago is No. 9 and Atlanta No. 10.

Western Conference scenarios

• The top three scenarios between the Thunder, Nuggets, and Timberwolves were so complex we broke it out into its own story. The short story with the top three: If they all win it will be Oklahoma City No. 1, Minnesota No. 2 and Denver No. 3. If one of the Thunder or Timberwolves lose, Denver could move up a spot, but to get to No. 1 both would have to lose. Minnesota can get to No. 1 with a win and either a Thunder or Nuggets loss (OKC has the three-way tiebreaker but if it’s head-to-head Minnesota tops Oklahoma City).

• The No. 4 Clippers will host the No. 5 Mavericks in what will be the best first-round series in either conference.

• The big afternoon game will be the Lakers vs. the Pelicans. That game impacts the standings in a few ways.

• If the Pelicans win, they will be the No. 6 seed. If they lose and the Suns beat the Timberwolves (who have something to play for), Phoenix will move up to No. 6, and New Orleans will fall into the play-in at No. 7.

• If the Lakers beat the Pelicans, they stay as the No. 8 seed — and that’s huge because they would have to win just one of two play-in games to advance to the playoffs. However, if the Lakers lose then things get complex: If the Lakers lose and one of the Warriors or Kings win, the Lakers are No. 9, if Los Angeles loses and both Sacramento and Golden State win the Lakers fall all the way to No. 10.

• The Kings can move up to No. 8 by beating the Trail Blazers and with the Lakers losing to the Pelicans. If the Lakers win but the Warriors lose, the Kings would be No. 9 (assuming they win).

• The Warriors need to beat the Jazz plus the Kings and Lakers to lose to move up to No. 8. Golden State can be No. 9 if they win and the Lakers or Kings lose. If the Warriors lose, they will be No. 10, and they could still be No. 10 if they win, but the Lakers and Kings also both win.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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