NBA Playoff Standings 2019: Updated Team Records, Seedings and More

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2019

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 17:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during a game at Fiserv Forum on March 17, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As the 2018-19 NBA regular season winds down to the final four weeks, only five teams have clinched berths and no club has secured a division title. The playoff picture remains foggy midway through March.

The Milwaukee Bucks (52-18) have the best record in the league, but they can't take their feet off the gas pedal yet; the Toronto Raptors are within 2.5 games in the Eastern Conference standings.

The bottom of the East seedings are competitive, and one club must put an end to their three-game skid to avoid a late-season collapse.

Most would assume the Golden State Warriors win a fourth NBA title in five years as they coast through the season, but it's still exciting to see the Denver Nuggets in pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

On the other end of the top eight in the West, there's one team that's far exceeded expectations this year. We'll likely see that squad match up against the Warriors or Nuggets in the first round.

Where does each team stand as of March 19? Who's already punched their ticket to the postseason? What should we look out for down the stretch?


Eastern Conference Standings

1. x-Milwaukee Bucks (52-18)

2. x-Toronto Raptors (50-21)

3. x-Philadelphia 76ers (45-25)

4. Indiana Pacers (44-27)

5. Boston Celtics (43-28)

6. Detroit Pistons (36-34)

7. Brooklyn Nets (36-36)

8. Miami Heat (34-36)

9. Orlando Magic (33-38)

10. Charlotte Hornets (31-38)

11. Washington Wizards (30-41)

12. Atlanta Hawks (24-47)

13. e-Chicago Bulls (20-52)

14. e-Cleveland Cavaliers (18-53)

15. e-New York Knicks (14-57)


Western Conference Standings

1. x-Golden State Warriors (47-22)

2. x-Denver Nuggets (47-22)

3. Houston Rockets (44-26)

4. Portland Trail Blazers (43-27)

5. Oklahoma City Thunder (42-29)

6. San Antonio Spurs (42-29)

7. Utah Jazz (41-29)

8. Los Angeles Clippers (41-30)

9. Sacramento Kings (34-35)

10. Minnesota Timberwolves (32-38)

11. Los Angeles Lakers (31-39)

12. e-New Orleans Pelicans (31-42)

13. e-Dallas Mavericks (28-42)

14. e-Memphis Grizzlies (28-42)

15. e-Phoenix Suns (17-55)

Note: x = clinched a playoff spot, e = eliminated from playoff contention


Milwaukee Bucks' Rotations Takes a Hit Amid Race for Top Spot in the East

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 1: Malcolm Brogdon #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on before the game on March 1 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photog
Chris Elise/Getty Images

The Bucks will likely finish the season without third-year guard Malcolm Brogdon. He left Friday's game against the Heat with a right foot injury. Upon further examination, team physicians found a minor tear in his plantar fascia. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he could miss six-to-eight weeks. 

The timetable would allow him to return during the second round of the playoffs at the latest—assuming the Bucks advance to the conference semifinal. 

As it stands, Brogdon's statistical numbers put him in rare territory as the eighth player in history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point land and 90 percent at the free-throw line—also known as the 50-40-90 club. While it's a prestigious feat, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo put the guard's value to the team in perspective, per The Athletic's Eric Nehm

"He makes plays, he attacks, he finishes in the paint, he makes threes, clutch threes,” Antetokounmpo said after Sunday’s game. "Not having him out there is a huge loss for the team. He brings so much to the table. Leadership, his voice in the locker room." 

Brogdon's absence doesn't mean the Bucks will fall in the standings. Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton should continue to produce at All-Star levels. Eric Bledsoe, who just signed a four-year extension, must elevate his game. Nikola Mirotic started in place of the injured guard in Sunday's 130-125 loss to the Sixers. He logged two points on 1-of-7 shooting. 

As a sharpshooter, Mirotic will have good and bad nights from the field, but his rough start also highlights Brogdon's efficiency. Still, 2.5 games ahead of Toronto in the standings, Milwaukee has a roster deep enough to hold on to the No. 1 spot in the East. Nonetheless, this squad may miss the glue to the starting lineup on some nights.


Brooklyn Nets Hit Rough Patch 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- MARCH 13:  D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 13, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
Zach Beeker/Getty Images

Last Wednesday, the Nets started a seven-game road trip, and they've come up short in three consecutive outings against opponents in the Western Conference. Coming off a blowout loss to the Utah Jazz Saturday, head coach Kenny Atkinson's group accepted another defeat Sunday—thanks to Clippers guard Lou Williams' game-winning shot from beyond the arc:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

.@TeamLou23 CALLED GAME. https://t.co/ekmsmKF0OL

The Nets have 10 games left on the schedule, with two more wins than the eighth-seeded Heat.

Before Sunday's game, Atkinson pointed to his team's inability to match the intensity of veteran squads, per Newsday's Greg Logan. "We’ve just got to bounce back against a similar veteran-type team," he said. "These type teams give us trouble. They screen hard, they hold, they grab, they’re physical. Somehow, we’ve got to be a little more resilient in terms of fighting through that physicality."

Fortunately for the Nets, they'll remain in California to play a younger Kings group Tuesday and the Lakers, who are coming off a loss to the Knicks, Friday. Both teams stand outside the playoff picture.

Behind Brooklyn in the East standings, the Heat (34-36) and Orlando Magic (33-38) have sub-.500 records. The Nets sit in a comfortable spot, but this squad will play the playoff-bound Sixers and Celtics to finish off the month. If this team isn't careful, they may have to scratch and claw their way into the postseason.


Los Angeles Clippers Separate from Non-Contenders 

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Lou Williams #23 of the LA Clippers celebrates with his team after scoring a game-winner against the Brooklyn Nets on March 17, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

You would have to search far and wide for analysts who projected the Clippers as strong a bet to hold the No. 8 seed in the West. The front office traded Tobias Harris, arguably the best player on the roster, to the Sixers at the deadline. The three-team deal involved swingman Jimmy Butler, who was disgruntled in Minnesota; he went to Philadelphia.

The Clippers acquired Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and guard Landry Shamet, the Sixers' 2020 first-round pick and a 2021 first-rounder via the Heat. Los Angeles also sent Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic to Philadelphia. 

In other words, the Clippers didn't receive much in terms of talent accustomed to high usage. It seemed as though the team made the move in preparation for the future. However, Shamet has provided a spark in the starting lineup as a reliable shooter from three-point territory, logging at least three triples in four consecutive outings. He's a consistent contributor who's averaged 28.3 minutes per contest. 

More impressively, Los Angeles hasn't folded its tent for the regular season—even after sending a highly productive scorer to the Sixers. The Clippers have won eight of their last 10 games and hold a six-game lead over the Kings for the No. 8 seed in the West with 11 contests left to play.