The NBA playoff picture if the season ended today feels locked in for the Eastern Conference and completely wide open for the Western Conference.
The 2022-23 NBA regular season will be over by the end of the week and then the NBA playoff picture will lock in place.
This is the last chance for playoff teams to prepare themselves for the postseason. It’s also the last gasp for a number of teams who are still fighting for a ticket to the playoffs.
The Eastern Conference has six teams clinched for postseason play. Over in the west, just three playoff spots are certain, making every injury scare or every potential returning player that much bigger.
NBA fans won’t want to miss the final week of action, which won’t begin until Tuesday because of the March Madness finale on Monday night. Here’s how it looks going in:
NBA Playoff picture if the season ended today, Apr. 3
Eastern Conference standings
- Bucks (GB) -Y
- Celtics (2) -x
- 76ers (5) -x
- Caveliers (7.5) -x
- Knicks (10.5) -x
- Nets (13)
- *Heat (15)
- *Hawks (17)
- *Raptors (17) -pb
- *Bulls (18)
*Play-in tournament places
First-round NBA Playoff matchups in Eastern Conference
- No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Heat/Hawks/Raptors/Bulls
- No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 7 Heat/Hawks
- No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets
- No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 5 New York Knicks
The Eastern Conference playoff bracket hasn’t changed at all over the last week. Even the play-in tournament standings are exactly as they were seven days ago.
With just five days of games remaining, there won’t be much chance of drastic changes to the bracket either. The top six seeds are fairly settled. The biggest question remaining is what order the Hawks, Raptors and Bulls will end up in.
Technically the Magic still have hopes of making the playoffs, but sitting four games out, they need an all-time collapse from the Bulls to get there.
Western Conference Standings
- Nuggets (GB) -y
- Grizzlies (3) -y
- Kings (5) -x
- Suns (9)
- Clippers (11.5)
- Warriors (11.5)
- *Lakers (12)
- *Pelicans (12)
- *Timberwolves (13.5)
- *Thunder (14.5)
*Play-in tournament places
First-round NBA Playoff matchups in Western Conference
- No. 1 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 8 Lakers/Pelicans/Timberwolves/Thunder
- No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 7 Lakers/Pelicans
- No. 3 Sacramento Kings vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors
- No. 4 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers
The Western Conference remains completely wide open with an enormously meaningful final week of the season coming up.
The Suns have to feel relatively safe with the No. 4 seed but the Clippers and Warriors are in range for the Lakers or Pelicans to drop them into the play-in tournament in the blink of an eye.
The Timberwolves and Thunder have the Mavericks and Jazz on their heels with the final play-in spot up for grabs.
Expect this side of the bracket to change on a day-to-day basis until the very end.
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