What NBA playoff scenarios are still in play on the final day of the regular season? – Athleticism

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What NBA playoff scenarios are still in play on the final day of the regular season?  – Athleticism

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The 2023-24 NBA regular season ends Sunday, and with several teams’ playoff positions undecided, it’s sure to be an exciting day.

The Western Conference features a three-way deadlock at the top between the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets. Each team is 56-25.

Denver briefly held a one-game lead after beating Minnesota on Wednesday. However, the Nuggets lost 121-120 to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night – and the Thunder and Timberwolves won their games – creating a crush at the top of the standings.

In the Eastern Conference, the battle for seeding No. 2 to 4 will be tight. If the Bucks beat the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee will claim the No. 2 seed and have home-court advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, if they make it that far. Other than that, things get confusing quickly for the Bucks. (More on this below.)

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers hold the key to unlocking the Play-In tournament schedule, moving the date for the East Game 7/8.

There’s a lot to unpack before Sunday’s games. Athleticism has you covered on playoff and Play-In tournament storylines and conference standings.

Rankings entering Sunday

Eastern Conference (*= place won for the Play-Ins):

  1. Celtics (63-18)
  2. Dollars (49-32)
  3. Knicks (49-32)
  4. Cavaliers (48-33)
  5. Magic (46-35)
  6. Pacers (46-35)
  7. 76ers (46-35)
  8. Heat (45-36)
  9. Bulls* (39-42)
  10. Falcons* (36-45)

Western Conference (*= place won for the Play-Ins):

  1. Thunder (56-25)
  2. Timber Wolves (56-25)
  3. Nuggets (56-25)
  4. Mowers (51-30)
  5. Mavericks (50-31)
  6. Pelicans (49-32)
  7. Suns (48-33)
  8. Lakers* (46-35)
  9. Kings* (45-36)
  10. Warriors* (45-36)
go further

GO FURTHER

Warriors, Kings or Lakers: who will get the eighth seed in the West?

Playoff games begin Sunday

Play-In Tournament

Heat at the 76ers, winner against the Bucks
The Lakers at the Suns, winners against the Timberwolves

Hawks vs. Bulls, loser eliminated
Warriors at Kings, loser eliminated

Hawks-Bulls winner of Heat-76ers loser, winner against Celtics
Winner of the Warriors-Kings against loser of the Lakers-Suns, winner against the Thunder

Elimination matches

(1) Celtics vs. (8) Play-In winner

(2) Bucks vs. (7) Heat/76ers winner

(3) Knicks vs. (6) Pacers

(4) Riders vs. (5) Magic

(1) Thunder vs. (8) Play-In winner

(2) Timberwolves vs. (7) Suns/Lakers winner

(3) Nuggets vs. (6) Pelicans

(4) Clippers vs. (5) Mavericks

Sunday hours (ET hours)

  • Hawks at Pacers (1 p.m.)
  • Wizards at Celtics (1 p.m.)
  • Raptors in heat (1 p.m.)
  • Bulls at Knicks (1 p.m.)
  • Hornets among the Cavaliers (1 p.m.)
  • Bucks at Magic (1 p.m.)
  • Nets at 76ers (1 p.m.)
  • Nuggets at Grizzlies (3:30 p.m.)
  • Trail Blazers at Kings (3:30 p.m.)
  • Jazz at Warriors (3:30 p.m.)
  • Mavericks at Thunder (3:30 p.m.)
  • Pistons at Spurs (3:30 p.m.)
  • Suns at Timberwolves (3:30 p.m.)
  • Rockers at Clippers (3:30 p.m.)
  • Lakers at Pelicans (3:30 p.m.)

Follow AthleticismThe NBA Play-In and playoff tournament blog to follow Sunday’s action.

Scenarios affecting the Western Conference No. 1 seed

No one among Denver, Oklahoma City and Minnesota — who have identical 56-25 records — is in complete control in their quest to win first place in the West.

Below are the following scenarios to determine the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City is the top seed: If all three win or if all three lose. In both scenarios, Minnesota would be second and Denver would be third.

Denver is the top seed: If it wins and the other two teams lose, in which case Minnesota would be second and Oklahoma City would be third.

Minnesota is the top seed: If he wins and Denver loses, in which case Oklahoma City would be second.

Oklahoma City is the top seed: If he wins and Minnesota loses.

Denver would move to second place: If he wins and one of the other two teams loses. In any scenario where only one of the three teams loses, that team will finish in third place.

Setting the stage for the East’s No. 2-4 seed race

If Milwaukee wins: The Bucks are the No. 2 seed, the Knicks are the No. 3 seed and Cleveland is the No. 4 seed.

If Milwaukee loses and New York wins and Cleveland loses: New York is the No. 2 seed, Milwaukee is third and Cleveland is fourth.

If Milwaukee loses and Cleveland and New York both win: New York is the No. 2 seed, Cleveland is third and Milwaukee is fourth.

If Milwaukee loses and New York and Cleveland both lose: Milwaukee is the No. 2 seed, New York is third and Cleveland is fourth.

If Milwaukee and New York lose and Cleveland wins: Cleveland takes the second seed, Milwaukee is third and New York is fourth.

go further

GO FURTHER

Bucks get ‘good burn’ against Thunder as playoff position, opponent still undetermined

Setting the stage for the East’s No. 5-8 seeds

If everyone loses or if everyone wins: Orlando is fifth, Indiana sixth, Philadelphia seventh and Miami eighth.

If Orlando wins: The Magic are the No. 5 seed unless Indiana loses and Philadelphia wins, in which case the Magic are the No. 6 seed.

If Orlando loses and Miami wins: Orlando will be the No. 8 seed unless Indiana also loses, in which case the Magic will be seventh.

If Indiana wins: The Pacers will be the sixth seed unless Orlando loses, in which case the Pacers would move to fifth.

If Philadelphia wins: The Sixers will be no worse than the seventh seed. If Indiana loses, the 76ers move to fifth place. If Indiana wins and Orlando loses, the 76ers move to sixth place.

If Miami loses: He is the No. 8 seed.

If Miami wins and Orlando wins: Miami is the No. 8 seed.

If Miami wins and Orlando loses: Miami is the Southeast Division champion and will be seeded ahead of Orlando. If that happens and one of Indiana or Philadelphia also loses, Miami drops to sixth place. If that happens and both of these teams lose, Miami drops to fifth place. Otherwise, Miami would be seventh.

Required reading

(Photo by Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokić: Bart Young / NBAE via Getty Images)



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