Believe it or not, the 2020 NBA playoffs is just a week away. After four-month hiatus for the league, the postseason will tip off on Aug. 17. The Western Conference play-in game will be two days before to decide the No. 8 seed.
With just a few games lest in the regular season, there’s still much to be decided heading into the postseason. Which teams are already locked into their seeds and which teams are undecided? What are the current playoff matchups? Who has the best chance to snag the No. 8 seed in the West? Let’s take a deep dive into the NBA playoff picture a week ahead of the postseason.
The Bucks and Lakers are locked into the No. 1 seeds
There are plenty of things yet to be decided ahead of the NBA playoffs, but the No. 1 seeds have been locked in for most of the restart. The Milwaukee Bucks will be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Los Angeles Lakers will be the top team in the West.
The Bucks and Lakers have been the two most impressive teams all season. The Bucks sit at 55-16 and the Lakers at 52-18. The Bucks stand as the odds-on favorites to win the NBA title at +250, with the Lakers right behind at +260.
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 playoffs, but the Bucks and the Lakers are clearly the two teams to beat in the East and West.
What are the current NBA playoff matchups?
As of Aug. 11, most of the playoff teams and seeds are locked into place. In the Eastern Conference, the eight playoff teams are already set in stone. The Washington Wizards were the only outside team with a chance to make the No. 8 seed, but they’ve been knocked out of contention. The Eastern Conference matchups will look like this:
- No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Orlando Magic
- No. 4 Miami Heat vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers
- No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers
- No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets
The West is a bit more jumbled. The Lakers have clinched the No. 1 seed, but almost every other seed is up for grabs. The Clippers and Nuggets are in a battle for No. 2, and there are four teams vying for the eighth and final spot. If the season ended today, the Western Conference matchups would be as follows:
- No. 1 LA Lakers vs. No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies
- No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Oklahoma City Thunder
- No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Utah Jazz
- No. 2 LA Clippers vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks
The race for the No. 8 seed in the West is down to four teams
Each team has just a few more games left in the regular season, but there are still four teams with a chance to claim the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies currently hold the eight spot, but they have some hungry teams breathing down their neck. The Portland Trail Blazers are 0.5 games behind Memphis. Shockingly, the Phoenix Suns have caught fire in the bubble and stand just 1.0 games behind the Grizzlies, and the San Antonio Spurs are in the same position.
The race for the No. 8 seed will be a tad different this year. Whoever earns the final spot doesn’t automatically get into the playoffs. The No. 9 seed will face the No. 8 seed in a play-in game for the final spot. The catch is the No. 9 seed will have to beat No. 8 twice to earn a date with the Lakers. The No. 8 seed just has to win once.
All of the four teams have a chance to make the playoffs, and the final few games of the regular season will decide the final playoff spot.
All standings courtesy of ESPN