NBA Playoff Picture 2024: Updated Bracket, Standings and Seed Predictions

0
11

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
The 2024 NBA playoff race has started to crystallize.
Both conferences are down to 11 teams with a chance to reach the postseason. The Eastern Conference is essentially set, with the Brooklyn Nets needing a miracle to eclipse the Atlanta Hawks for the final play-in spot.
The Golden State Warriors and red-hot Houston Rockets are battling it out for the last spot in the West.
Here is a look at how both conferences look following Sunday’s slate of action:
Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics Milwaukee Bucks Cleveland Cavaliers New York Knicks Orlando Magic Indiana Pacers Miami Heat Philadelphia 76ers Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks Brooklyn Nets Toronto Raptors Charlotte Hornets Washington Wizards Detroit Pistons
Play-In Matchups
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks
First-Round Matchups
No. 1 Boston Celtics vs. TBD
No. 4 New York Knicks vs. No. 5 Orlando Magic
No. 3 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 6 Indiana Pacers
No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks vs. TBD
Western Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder Denver Nuggets Minnesota Timberwolves Los Angeles Clippers Dallas Mavericks New Orleans Pelicans Sacramento Kings Phoenix Suns Los Angeles Lakers Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Utah Jazz Memphis Grizzlies Portland Trail Blazers San Antonio Spurs
Play-In Matchups
Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
First-Round Matchups
No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. TBD
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks
No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves vs. No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans
No. 2 Denver Nuggets vs. TBD
The top of the two conferences could not be more opposed. The Boston Celtics have had the top seed in the East locked up seemingly the entire season and carry an 11-game lead over the No. 2 seed Milwaukee Bucks.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are all neck-and-neck for the top spot out West. The defending champion Nuggets have long been open about the fact that they want to be healthy over competing for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
“For me, it’s not a top one or two priority to be very honest,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters in February. “I don’t want to win that battle and lose the bigger war. When our starting unit plays, I think our record is like 24-8. So that to me is most important, is going into the playoffs having our starting five healthy and ready for the load that’s going to be placed upon them.”
One could even argue the Nuggets may be better off with the No. 3 seed than Nos. 1 or 2. The top two seeds in the Western Conference will face off against play-in winners, which at the moment include teams led by Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors). There is a 75 percent chance the reward for winning in the regular season will be seven games against one of the 10 greatest players of all time.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here