NBA Playoff Picture: Final 2014 Standings and Updated Bracket

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2014

Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) passes as Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll (5) defends during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 98-85. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis

Wednesday marked the final day of the 2013-14 NBA regular season, meaning playoff seeding and lottery odds were sorted out as the final standings were released. 

Here is a look at those standings for both the Eastern and Western Conference:

Final Western Conference Standings
1San Antonio Spurs62-20
2Oklahoma City Thunder59-23
3Los Angeles Clippers57-25
4Houston Rockets54-28
5Portland Trail Blazers54-28
6Golden State Warriors51-31
7Memphis Grizzlies50-32
8Dallas Mavericks49-33
9Phoenix Suns48-34
10Minnesota Timberwolves40-42
11Denver Nuggets36-46
12New Orleans Pelicans34-48
13Sacramento Kings28-54
14Los Angeles Lakers27-55
15Utah Jazz25-57
Final Eastern Conference Standings
1Indiana Pacers56-26
2Miami Heat54-28
3Toronto Raptors48-34
4Chicago Bulls48-34
5Washington Wizards44-38
6Brooklyn Nets44-38
7Charlotte Bobcats43-39
8Atlanta Hawks38-44
9New York Knicks37-45
10Cleveland Cavaliers33-49
11Detroit Pistons29-53
12Boston Celtics25-57
13Orlando Magic23-59
14Philadelphia 76ers19-63
15Milwaukee Bucks15-67

Of more importance than the final records, though, is the positioning in the NBA playoffs. The NBA certainly had that in mind when it let fans know what the first-round bracket looks like for the postseason:

Here is a glance at some of the key dates to keep in mind throughout the playoffs:

  • 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 

Another area of interest for a certain sector of fans as we head into the postseason is the overall odds to win the championship. Vegas Insider gave title odds to all 16 teams in the playoffs, as of Wednesday, April 16:

Odds to win NBA title
Miami Heat19-10
San Antonio Spurs3-1
Oklahoma City Thunder19-5
Indiana Pacers8-1
Los Angeles Clippers10-1
Houston Rockets30-1
Brooklyn Nets35-1
Chicago Bulls45-1
Portland Trail Blazers50-1
Golden State Warriors60-1
Memphis Grizzlies85-1
Toronto Raptors100-1
Dallas Mavericks120-1
Washington Wizards150-1
Charlotte Bobcats200-1
Atlanta Hawks950-1
Vegas Insider

Now that we know what the odds, first-round bracket and final regular-season standings look like, let’s dig into a couple of storylines to watch in the first few games of the NBA playoffs.

Will Heavy Doses of Dwyane Wade be Necessary Against the Charlotte Bobcats?

MIAMI, FL - April 16: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives against James Anderson #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on April 16, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade has played off and on all season long, which makes LeBron James’ production all the more impressive considering how much of an offensive burden he has carried.

It will be intriguing to watch how often the Miami Heat use Wade in the first round against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Heat knocked off Charlotte in all four regular-season contests this year and should theoretically be able to handle the Bobcats in a best-of-seven series without heavy minutes from the star shooting guard.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during a game against the Atlanta Hawks on April 12, 2014 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photogr
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

It would probably be in the team’s best interest to rest his knees before potential showdowns with the likes of the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets in later rounds. All three of those teams bring a physical style of play to the court, and a postseason series against any of them will be grueling.

What’s more, James has already proven he can dominate the Bobcats.

He scored a career-high 61 points against them earlier in the year and was thankful afterward in his postgame interview in comments that come via Royce Young of CBS Sports:

"The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play this game of basketball. I try to take advantage of it each and every night." 

James will need much more help from his sidekick in the latter rounds than this one.

Offensive Firepower Aplenty

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 25: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers on December 25, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup in the first round in the Western Conference is the one between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State brings the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and even Harrison Barnes to the table, while the Clippers counter with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan. That is plenty of offensive firepower on both sides.

In fact, the Clippers rank first in the league in points per game, but it was the Warriors who finished in the top 10 in both points scored and allowed per game. 

There is so much potential offense in this series, that it might actually come down to which better-than-advertised defense can answer the bell over the course of seven games.

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