NBA Playoffs 2020: Latest Standings and Postseason Matchups

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIAugust 10, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard, right, is guarded by Dallas Mavericks' Trey Burke (32) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The battle for the final available NBA playoff spot is down to four teams. And with exactly one week until the beginning of the postseason, there's not much time left for one of the teams outside of that position to make their way in.

The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but the Portland Trail Blazers (half-game back), San Antonio Spurs (one game back) and Phoenix Suns (one-and-a-half games back) are all alive in the race for that playoff berth.

Phoenix has three seeding games remaining and each of the other teams have two, plus there could be tiebreaker games this weekend if needed. So, there are many possibilities for what could still happen.

But for most teams, they're either locked into their playoff seeding or getting close to it, shifting their focus to getting ready for an unorthodox postseason to be held in the NBA bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It won't be normal, but one team will end up winning a championship in October.

Here's a look at the NBA standings, along with some intriguing potential first-round postseason matchups to watch.


NBA Standings

Eastern Conference

1. Milwaukee Bucks (55-15)

2. Toronto Raptors (50-19)

3. Boston Celtics (47-23)

4. Miami Heat (43-27)

5. Indiana Pacers (43-27)

6. Philadelphia 76ers (42-28)

7. Brooklyn Nets (34-36)

8. Orlando Magic (32-39)

9. Washington Wizards (24-46, eliminated)


Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Lakers (51-18)

2. Los Angeles Clippers (47-23)

3. Denver Nuggets (46-24)

4. Houston Rockets (44-25)

5. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-26)

6. Utah Jazz (43-27)

7. Dallas Mavericks (42-30)

8. Memphis Grizzlies (33-38)

9. Portland Trail Blazers (33-39)

10. San Antonio Spurs (31-38)

11. Phoenix Suns (31-39)

12. New Orleans Pelicans (30-40, eliminated)

13. Sacramento Kings (29-41, eliminated)


Intriguing Potential First-Round Matchups

No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks

This appears to be a first-round series that is likely to take place. The Clippers should be able to secure the No. 2 seed in their final two seeding games (they can clinch it with a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday), while the Mavericks are firmly in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be playing in their first playoff series with the Clippers, and they'll be looking to lead them to a deep run and potentially the first NBA title in franchise history. Los Angeles has never even reached the conference finals, so it will be hoping its new core brings it more success.

Meanwhile, Luka Doncic will be making his playoff debut as the Mavs are in the postseason for the first time since 2016, and they'll be looking for their first playoff series victory since winning the NBA title in 2011. Doncic has emerged as one of the most exciting players in the NBA, as the 21-year-old guard is averaging 29.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 59 games, so it will be fun to watch him play on a bigger stage for the first time.

It's likely that the Clippers would win this series, and if they don't, it would be a huge disappointment for a team that has legitimate championship aspirations this season. They've won all three of their matchups against the Mavericks this season, but perhaps Doncic could get hot and make things interesting.

Regardless, these teams have made a lot of changes since their previous postseason appearances, and it should be fun to watch both in a best-of-seven playoff series.


No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Not only will this be Russell Westbrook's first playoff series with the Rockets, but he could potentially be playing against the team that traded him last summer. And on the flip side, Chris Paul's first playoff games with the Thunder could come against his former team, as he went the other way in that same trade.

It's possible the Jazz move ahead of the Thunder in the standings and prevent this series from happening, but it would certainly be fun to watch Houston and Oklahoma City go head-to-head if that's how the seeding falls. The Thunder won two of the three regular-season meetings between these two teams, but they haven't played each other since Jan. 20, so this would be a fresh matchup to watch.

And it would likely be an exciting one, too. The Rockets and Thunder haven't played in the postseason since 2017, and obviously their rosters are much different now. But Westbrook and Paul have both had strong seasons in new cities, and Westbrook had a triple-double (32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds) against the Thunder in January, so perhaps playing his old team will provide additional motivation.

Westbrook also isn't going to want his first postseason with Houston to end in the first round, especially at the hands of some of his former teammates. Neither team has reached the NBA Finals in the previous seven seasons, so both are hoping this can be the year they go all the way, whether that starts with a matchup against each other or not.


No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets

Kim Klement/Associated Press

Can one of the biggest surprise teams during the recent seeding games upset the reigning NBA champions? It seems unlikely, but it also didn't seem probable that the Nets were going to play well when they entered the NBA bubble.

Brooklyn is missing a considerable portion of its roster, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving injured and Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler all deciding not to participate in the season restart. Still, the Nets have gone 4-2 in their first six seeding games, which includes victories over the Bucks and Clippers.

A best-of-seven playoff series against a team like the Raptors would be much different, though. Especially because Toronto is also playing well of late, winning four of its first five seeding games. And although it doesn't have Leonard this postseason, the Raptors still have a roster capable of making considerable noise in the postseason.

Both teams are locked into their seeds, so it's a sure thing that this series is going to happen. And while Toronto will be a heavy favorite, perhaps the unlikely happens and Brooklyn notches a huge playoff upset. While improbable, it could be entertaining to watch if the Nets push the Raptors to their limits.