The Los Angeles Clippers knocked off the Denver Nuggets to the tune of 117-105 Tuesday night, and when the final buzzer sounded, it was finally the last day of the NBA’s regular season.
That means the playoffs are right around the corner. Even the NBA on TNT couldn’t believe that the postseason is finally almost here:
Here is a look at some key dates to keep in mind:
- April 19: 2014 NBA playoffs begin
- May 5: conference semifinals begin (possible move up to May 3 or 4)
- May 20: conference finals begin (possible move up to May 18 or 19)
- June 5: The NBA Finals begin
While the field of 16 teams is officially set, the seeding is still up in the air for both the Eastern and the Western Conference. Here is a look at the updated standings for each league:
|Updated Eastern Conference Standings|
|Updated Western Conference Standings|
|1||San Antonio Spurs||62-19|
|2||Oklahoma City Thunder||58-23|
|3||Los Angeles Clippers||57-24|
|5||Portland Trail Blazers||53-28|
|6||Golden State Warriors||50-31|
Even though this tweet came from NBA.com Monday, the first-round matchups and bracket would still look the same if the playoffs started today:
As mentioned, there are a number of things to be decided in terms of seeding. Let’s take a look at a couple of pending scenarios.
The No. 3, 4 and 5 Seeds in the Eastern Conference
The Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls will be the No. 3 and 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but which team slides into the three spot is yet to be determined.
If Toronto beats the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden or Chicago loses to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Raptors get the No. 3 seed. However, if the Raptors lose and the Bulls win Wednesday, all of a sudden Chicago is the No. 3 seed, and Miami may have a tougher matchup in the second round.
That’s not to suggest the Heat would lose a potential seven-game series with the Bulls; only that LeBron James and company would probably prefer not to see Chicago’s grinding and physical defense in the postseason.
Bulls superstar Joakim Noah let fans know his team is focused on winning its game and letting everything else take care of itself, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: “Whatever happens, happens. Our mentality is just getting ready for the next game, getting ready for Charlotte. We're going to focus on (our) next opponent and everything will take care of itself."
As for the No. 5 seed, it will be filled by the Brooklyn Nets as long as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday or the Washington Wizards lose to the Boston Celtics. However, if the Wizards beat Boston and the Cavaliers beat Brooklyn, then Washington would get the No. 5 seed.
Head-to-Head for the No. 7 Seed out West
The Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies will square off Wednesday for the right to avoid the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
The loser will get the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, while the winner will avoid a matchup with Tim Duncan and company. The Mavericks beat Memphis in all three regular-season matchups thus far, but this game does take place on the Grizzlies' home floor.
It’s not as if there is a great prize waiting at the end of the rainbow for the winner though. That team will likely match up with probable MVP Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
Good luck with that.
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