The NBA playoff bracket is set for the Orlando bubble with the exception of the final seed in the Western Conference. As the Los Angeles Lakers await their opponent, seven of the eight playoff matchups are locked in with the postseason officially set to start on Monday, August 17.
One of the intriguing first-round series to watch is the Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets, with Chris Paul taking on his former team. The Rockets remain concerned about Russell Westbrook who is expected to miss the start of the first round. As for Paul, the Thunder All-Star pointed to the familiarity that both teams have with each other.
“It’ll be interesting,” Paul admitted to The Athletic’s Erik Horne. “Two teams that know a lot about each other. We’ll prepare, get ready and we’ll see what’s what’s.”
A number of the top seeds have struggled since arriving at the bubble, including the Lakers. LeBron James admitted that he has not been in “playoff-mode” at Disney but plans for that to change in the first round.
“Me, personally, as far as mentally, I’m not in playoff-mode,” James said, via Sports Illustrated. “Physically, I’m getting there. I feel like my legs have gotten better and better, my game has improved more and more, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bubble. But as far as the mental side of it, nah, I’m not there. Personally, I don’t think our team is there. But we will be. It’s a different type of mindset that you have to be in, but you don’t want to jump into it before you actually get there because it takes a lot — a lot of energy, a lot of effort.”
Play-in Game Will Begin the NBA Postseason
Since the No. 8 seed Portland Blazers and No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies are within four games of each other in the standings there will be a play-in game in the Western Conference. The Magic are more than four games ahead of the Wizards in the Eastern Conference, so there will not be a play-in on that side of the bracket.
The Blazers-Grizzlies will square off on Saturday, August 15 and if Memphis wins the first matchup there will be a winner-take-all second game. The winner will take on the Lakers in the first round.
Here is a look at the NBA playoff bracket.
Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket 2020
Western Conference Playoff Bracket 2020
|8 Play-in Winner|
NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups 2020
|No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Orlando Magic|
|No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets|
|No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers|
|No. 4 Miami Heat vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers|
NBA Western Conference Playoff Matchups 2020
|No. 1 L.A. Lakers vs. No. 8 TBD (Play-in Winner)|
|No. 2 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks|
|No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Utah Jazz|
|No. 4 OKC Thunder vs. No. 5 Houston Rockets|