NBA Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Play-in Standings, Predictions After April 5

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 6, 2022

San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson reacts after center Jakob Poeltl hit a basket and was fouled during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers will not participate in the NBA postseason.

They were eliminated from playoff contention by the combination of their loss to the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs' road win over the Denver Nuggets. 

San Antonio's win confirmed three of the four participants in the Western Conference play-in tournament. The New Orleans Pelicans locked in their spot alongside the Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday as well. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves will most likely be the fourth play-in team in the West. They are two games back of Denver for the No. 6 seed with three games to play. 

The Eastern Conference play-in spots experienced some movement on Tuesday, when the Brooklyn Nets leaped over the Atlanta Hawks. 

Brooklyn could still land the No. 7 seed if it beats the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and gets some help from the Milwaukee Bucks against the Cavs on Sunday. 


Updated NBA Standings

Western Conference

1. Phoenix (63-16)

2. Memphis (55-24)

3. Golden State (50-29)

4. Dallas (49-30)

5. Utah (47-32)

6. Denver (47-33)


Play-In Standings

7. Minnesota (45-35)

8. Los Angeles Clippers (39-40)

9. New Orleans (35-44)

10. San Antonio (34-45)


San Antonio and New Orleans confirmed their spots in the play-in round with victories on Tuesday night combined with the Lakers' loss in Phoenix. 

San Antonio pulled off a surprising victory over Denver inside Ball Arena without Dejounte Murray. It was able to clinch a play-in spot on Tuesday because of the tiebreaker it owns over the Lakers. 

Gregg Popovich's team has three games left to move up one position to earn home-court advantage in the No. 9-versus-No. 10 contest. 

San Antonio finishes the regular season with Minnesota, Golden State and Dallas, while New Orleans ends with Portland, Memphis and Golden State. 

The Pelicans need to remain one game ahead of the Spurs in order to host San Antonio in the play-in round. 

The Los Angeles Clippers are locked into the No. 8 seed and will likely face the Timberwolves in the play-in game for the No. 7 seed. 

Minnesota is two games behind Denver with two games remaining. The Wolves host the Spurs and Bulls on Thursday and Sunday, respectively. 

The Wolves' spot at the top of the play-in standings could be confirmed before the weekend depending on what Denver does.  

Prediction: 7. Minnesota, 8. LA Clippers, 9. New Orleans, 10. San Antonio


Eastern Conference

1. Miami (52-28)

2. Boston (49-30)

3. Milwaukee (49-30)

4. Philadelphia (49-30)

5. Toronto (46-33)

6. Chicago (45-34)


Play-In Standings

7. Cleveland (43-37)

8. Brooklyn (41-38)

9. Atlanta (41-38)

10. Charlotte (40-39) 


Brooklyn and Atlanta swapped positions in the play-in standings on Tuesday. 

The Nets cruised past the Houston Rockets at home, while the Hawks fell to the Toronto Raptors. 

Brooklyn can maintain its edge over Atlanta on Wednesday, when it takes on the New York Knicks as part of a back-to-back set of games.

Atlanta is also in action on Wednesday versus the Washington Wizards, which went on the road to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. 

The Nets are not out of the mix for the No. 7 spot currently occupied by the Cleveland Cavaliers, either. 

Brooklyn and Cleveland go head-to-head on Friday in a game that could determine the No. 7 seed. 

Cleveland does not play again until Friday and takes on the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. The Bucks will likely be playing for seeding in that contest. 

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Co. finish the regular season against the Indiana Pacers. A win over Cleveland could lock in the No. 7 seed. The Nets would own a 3-1 head-to-head tiebreaker in that situation. 

Atlanta plays the Miami Heat and Houston on the road to finish its regular-season slate. The Hawks should go 2-1 starting with the clash against Washington.

Charlotte's loss to the Heat put it in a less-than-ideal situation at the No. 10 seed. The Hornets need to beat Orlando, Chicago and Washington and receive some help to move up from its current spot. 

Prediction: 7. Brooklyn, 8. Cleveland, 9. Atlanta, 10. Charlotte