NBA Playoff Picture: The NBA Playoff bracket if the season ended today
The end of the NBA season is fast approaching, and teams are still fighting for a spot in the playoffs. If the season ended today, there would be several surprises. That includes at least one supposed title contender failing to make the postseason altogether.
Of course, the teams at risk would still have time to turn things around, but time is quickly running out. With that being said, let’s take a look at the playoff matchups if the season ended today.
NBA playoff picture: Eastern Conference:
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- New York Knicks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Miami Heat
- Atlanta Hawks
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
Here are the first-round playoff matchups for the East as of now:
No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 7 Miami Heat/No. 8 Atlanta Hawks
No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 7 Heat, No. 8 Hawks, No. 9 Raptors, No. 10 Bulls
No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 5 New York Knicks
Of the two conferences, the East’s playoff bracket has been much more stable. The top five teams haven’t changed much, but the back half of the playoff bracket is in flux. If the season ended today, the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and Chicago Bulls would be in the play-in tournament. The Heat and Hawks would battle it out, with the winner getting the seventh seed and the loser facing the winner of the Raptors-Bulls game for eight in the East.
Assuming it’s the Heat and Bulls, then they’d face Boston and Milwaukee, respectively. That would leave the three-six and four-five matchups. The Philadelphia 76ers would face the Brooklyn Nets, while the Cavaliers and the Knicks would square off.
NBA playoff picture: Western Conference:
- Denver Nuggets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Sacramento Kings
- Phoenix Suns
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Golden State Warriors
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Oklahoma City Thunder
Here are the first-round playoff matchups for the West as of now:
No. 1 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans/No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 7 Pelicans, No. 8 Timberwolves, No. 9 Lakers, No. 10 Thunder
No. 3 Sacramento Kings vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors
No. 4 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers
The West is a mess. Just last week, the Dallas Mavericks were sixth, but back-to-back losses to the bad Charlotte Hornets make them unlikely to make the playoffs. Their loss, literally. The Pelicans and Wolves and the Lakers and Thunder would be in the play-in tournament, with the loser of the Pelicans-Wolves game facing the winner of the Lakers and Thunder game. Assuming that it’s the Pelicans and Lakers, they would play Memphis and Denver in the first round of the playoffs.
The Kings and Warriors would face off in the three-six matchup while the Suns and Clippers would play one another. Both would be highly competitive series, with the underdogs capable of pulling off upsets.
Overall, the standings, particularly in the West, are very much in flux. However, as of today, we could be in for an exciting first round of the playoffs.