With March Madness in full swing, it signals the NBA season is about to wrap up. The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, April 16 with the final slate of games taking place April 12.
The Golden State Warriors have struggled without Kevin Durant but still sit at the top of the Western Conference standings. This also means the Warriors would get home court advantage in the NBA Finals if they are able to advance through the West. The San Antonio Spurs are still within striking distance of the Warriors for the number one seed.
In the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a slight edge over the Boston Celtics for the top seed. The two teams play one more time on April 5 in a matchup that could have a big impact on the seeding.
Teams in bold would make the playoffs if the season were to end today. Teams in italics have already clinched a playoff birth.
Here’s a look at the current NBA standings and playoff matchups.
Eastern Conference Standings
|1. Cleveland Cavs||46||23||–|
|2. Boston Celtics||45||26||2|
|3. Washington Wizards||42||28||4.5|
|4. Toronto Raptors||42||29||5|
|5. Atlanta Hawks||37||33||9.5|
|6. Indiana Pacers||36||34||10.5|
|7. Milwaukee Bucks||35||35||11.5|
|8. Miami Heat||35||36||12|
|9. Detroit Pistons||34||37||13|
|10. Chicago Bulls||33||38||14|
|11. Charlotte Hornets||31||39||15.5|
|12. New York Knicks||27||43||19.5|
|13. Philadelphia 76ers||26||44||20.5|
|14. Orlando Magic||26||45||21|
|15. Brooklyn Nets||14||56||33|
Current Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups
8. Miami Heat vs. 1. Cleveland Cavs
The Pistons, Heat and Bulls are all battling to face the Cavs in the first round in what will be an uphill battle for the team that makes it into the playoffs.
7. Milwaukee Bucks vs. 2. Boston Celtics
This could be the matchup of the first round. Giannis Antetokounmpo and a young Bucks team face a talented Celtics roster.
6. Indiana Pacers vs. 3. Washington Wizards
Much of the conversation in the East centers around the Cavs and Celtics. However, the Wizards have a chance to upset either team if they are playing their best come April.
5. Atlanta Hawks vs. 4. Toronto Raptors
The trade for Serge Ibaka has not given the Raptors the immediate return they were hoping for, but it could be a different story come playoff time.
Western Conference Standings
|1. Golden State Warriors||57||14||–|
|2. San Antonio Spurs||54||16||2.5|
|3. Houston Rockets||49||22||8|
|4. Utah Jazz||43||28||14|
|5. LA Clippers||43||29||14.5|
|6. Oklahoma City Thunder||40||30||16.5|
|7. Memphis Grizzlies||40||31||17|
|8. Denver Nuggets||33||37||23.5|
|9. Portland Trail Blazers||32||38||24.5|
|10. Dallas Mavericks||30||40||26.5|
|11. New Orleans Pelicans||30||41||27|
|12. Minnesota Timberwolves||28||42||28.5|
|13. Sacramento Kings||27||43||29.5|
|14. Phoenix Suns||22||49||35|
|15. Los Angeles Lakers||20||51||37|
Current Western Conference Playoff Matchups
8. Denver Nuggets vs. 1. Golden State Warriors
The Nuggets are a young and exciting team. Their reward? They get to face the Warriors. Denver could give Golden State some trouble down low but not enough to have a chance to advance.
7. Memphis Grizzlies vs. 2. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are still in the running for the top seed and have a good chance to challenge the Warriors in the West.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 3. Houston Rockets
Houston has been the surprise of the season and should advance with little problem. This is a fun matchup between Russell Westbrook and James Harden, two players who will likely finish top two in the MVP voting.
5. L.A. Clippers vs. 4. Utah Jazz
The Jazz continue to get better while the Clippers are hovering where they have been for the past few seasons. If the Clippers get bounced out of the first round, this could be the end of the road for the core group of players.