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2018 NBA Playoffs– It’s A Gunfight at the OK Corral

It’s down to the wire for the 2018 NBA playoffs and things are about to get messier.

Things are all set in the Eastern Conference, but the seeds are far from settled.

Meanwhile, five teams still have to fight tooth and nail to get the final four spots in the Western Conference.

What can we expect? We’ll take a look, but first…

When Do The 2018 NBA Playoffs Start?

The regular season ends with 12 scheduled games including some that are must watch such as the Nuggets vs Timberwolves and Spurts vs Pelicans. The first round starts the day after.

The NBA conference semifinals should start on April 30/May 1 but could do so on April 28/29.

Game 1 of the NBA finals is due to start on May 31 with Game 7 scheduled on June 17 should there be a need for it.

Who’s Officially Out?

The teams that are out are the Clippers, Pistons, Hornets, Nets, Magic, Hawks, Mavericks, Kings, Suns, Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls and Lakers.

Who’s Already In?

The Raptors, Celtics, Cavaliers, 76ers, Pacers, Wizards, Heat, Bucks, Rockets, Warriors and Trail Blazers have their spots for the playoffs.

The Fight In The Eastern Conference

The playoff field is set in the East, but things are far from settled. The way things are playing out could change things dramatically in the next few days.

There’s no way the Pistons will make the playoffs after losing to the 76ers. But, this opens up a can of worms for the No. 1 seed, Toronto Raptors, because they now have to potentially play a Philadelphia team that sizzling-hot behind a 13-game winning streak.

The 76ers spot is precarious at best, though. They may have a one-game advantage over the Cavs, but they have Milwaukee up next which is complicated.

The Bucks will look to end the season with a win because it means they’ll beat out Miami and Washington for the No. 6 seed.

Cleveland meanwhile has two games left against New York which could lead to a 51-31 tied record with the 76ers. But, because the Cavs have the tiebreaker advantage, they could snatch the No. 3 seed from Philly.

That’s not all, it’s a must-win scenario for the Sixers should they want to avoid falling to No. 4 and face the Indiana Pacers, who appear to have locked in the No. 5 seed, in the first round.

Arguably, the No. 3 seed holds the most value in the East now that Kyrie Irving is out for the entire postseason. This means that either Philadelphia or Cleveland would probably play Boston in the second round instead of Toronto.

The Fight In The Western Conference

Here’s where things will get bloody.

The Spurs, Thunder, Jazz, Timberwolves, and Pelicans will likely make the postseason, but less than two games separate the No. 4 Jazz from the No. 9 Nuggets.

New Orleans holds an edge to the No. 5 seed because of its head-to-head marks against the Spurs and Thunder. And, should they win over San Antonio at home on Wednesday, they’ll have a better grasp on it.

Denver plays the Timberwolves after defeating Minnesota on Thursday night; because their records are the same, it makes the game a must win for the Nuggets.

The Rockets and Warriors have home-court advantage through the first two rounds, while Portland has home-court advantage in the first round.

The No. 4 seed is somewhat trickier; the Spurs should finish in the top half of the field with 48 wins at season’s end while the Thunder and Timberwolves will likely end with 47 wins.

NBA Standings – Eastern Conference

*clinched playoff berth

**clinched division

***clinched conference

Team

Record

Percentage

Games back

Raptors***

58-22

0.725

Celtics*

54-26

0.675

4

76ers*

50-30

0.625

8

Cavs*

49-31

0.613

9

Pacers*

48-33

0.593

10.5

Heat*

43-37

0.538

15

Bucks*

43-37

0.538

15

Wizards*

42-38

0.525

16

 

NBA Standings: Western Conference

*clinched playoff berth

**clinched division

***clinched conference

Team

Record

Percentage

Games back

Rockets***

64-16

.800

Warriors**

58-23

.716

6.5

Trail Blazers*

48-32

.600

16

Jazz*

47-33

.587

17

Pelicans

46-34

.575

18

Spurs

46-34

.575

18

Thunder

46-34

.575

18

Timberwolves

45-35     .5

63

19

Nuggets

45-35

.563

19

Clippers

42-38

.525

22

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