Figuring Out the Field

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NBA Playoff Picture 2017

Playoff Seedings Taking Shape, What is Left?

Get your playoffs face on, because it’s almost time!

With just two days remaining in the regular season, some teams are buckling up for the postseason, while others are packing it up until next year.

Yet there are still a few teams still fighting for positioning as the 2017 playoff bracket is still not quite set. What is left to play for? Which are the teams to focus on? Let’s take a quick look of how the dance is shaping up!

The East

Eastern Conference Standings

Credit: NBA.com

While the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards have their fate sealed, the top of the standings still have some questions. Thus far, Boston is occupying the top seed and a win for them or a loss for the Cavaliers in the final game of their seasons would clinch the number one spot for the Celtics. If the Celtics are the lose, but the Cavs are to win their last game, Cleveland holds the tiebreaker and would leap-frog over Boston for the top seed. The Cavs will be in tough as they are set to take on the Raptors with LeBron James reportedly sitting out game number 82 to rest up for the impending Cavaliers playoff run.

The bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture is a tad murkier. The Atlanta Hawks cannot fall further than seventh.

  • If Atlanta wins at least one of their final two games, they clinch the fifth seed
  • If Atlanta ends the season winless, but the Bucks lose their last game, Atlanta will remain in fifth
  • If Atlanta goes 0-2, but the Bucks win: Bucks are the fifth seed, Atlanta is the seventh seed

Thanks to a tiebreaker the Bucks hold over Indiana, Milwaukee cannot fall further than sixth so it is up to them to force the Hawks out of the fifth spot. Meanwhile, the Pacers can fall anywhere between the sixth and eighth playoff spot. The only way the Pacers can take hold of sixth is with two Atlanta losses and a win in their regular season finale.

Lastly, the fun stuff comes at the very bottom of the playoff picture. If the Pacers lose their final game, things will really get interesting, as the Heat and Bulls both have tiebreakers. Here are all of the scenarios:

  • If Pacers win, Bulls win, Heat win, Pacers 6/7, Bulls 8, Heat out.
  • If Pacers win, Bulls win, Heat lose, Pacers 6/7, Bulls 8, Heat out.
  • If Pacers win, Bulls lose, Heat lose, Pacers 6/7, Bulls 8, Heat out
  • If Pacers win, Bulls lose, Heat win, Pacers 6/7, Heat 8, Bulls out.
  • If Pacers lose, Bulls win, Heat win, Bulls 7, Heat 8, Pacers out.
  • If Pacers lose, Bulls lose, Heat win, Heat 7, Pacers 8, Bulls out.
  • if Pacers lose, Bulls lose, Heat lose, it’s Pacers 7, Bulls 8, Heat out.
  • If Pacers lose, Bulls win, Heat lose, It’s Bulls 7, Pacers 8, Heat out.

That should make all the sense in the world. If seedings remain as they currently stand, the first round of the playoffs would feature the Celtics taking on the Bulls, the Cavs meeting up with the Pacers, the Raptors hosting the Bucks, and the Wizards matching up against the Hawks.

The West

Western Conference

Credit: NBA.com

Since Denver Nuggets were finally knocked out of contention, the eight teams who are headed to ‘The Dance’ are all set. Now what is left is to see who will take on who in the opening round.

The West is far easier to configure than the East, with only one question needing to be answered. The Golden State Warriors are set to take on the Portland Trailblazers, the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs will meet up, and the Oklahoma City Thunder will square off against the Houston Rockets in a battle against two M.V.P. front runners.

Home court advantage in the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz match-up still needs to be confirmed. The Clippers hold the tiebreaker, so the only way Game 1 will be away from the Staple Centre is if they falter in their final game, while the Jazz pull out a win.

The playoffs are coming!

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