Skip to content

NBA playoff picture: East pretty much set, West not so much

Apr 23, 2012, 9:59 AM EDT

Taj Gibson AP

There are just four days of NBA games left and a lot is left to be decided in the playoffs.

Well, at least in the Western Conference.

The East is pretty much locked up, and although the cement has not fully dried on all the games, we have a pretty good idea what the matchups will be. The West, however, is a lot more fluid, with some key games this week to determine things.

With the East, the matchups would be:

Bulls (1) vs. 76ers (8)
Heat (2) vs. Knicks (7)
Pacers (3) vs. Magic (6)
Celtics (4) vs. Hawks (5)

The Boston vs. Atlanta matchup is locked in, the only question remaining is who gets home court. Boston is the No. 4 seed by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division, but that does not guarantee home court — the Hawks have the better record by a game after their win over a Celtics team that rested pretty much everybody Friday.

While Indiana vs. Orlando isn’t officially a lock, one more Magic win and it is — and the Magic play the Bobcats this week. So, consider it a lock.

There is a mathematical chance the Bucks could catch the 76ers for the eight seed, but it’s not happening. It also is possible that the Sixers could pass the Knicks and get the seven seed, but Basketball Prospectus puts that at 4.9 percent. Basically, what you see is what you get in the East.

The West matchups as of Monday morning:

Spurs (1) vs. Jazz (8)
Thunder (2) vs. Mavericks (7)
Lakers (3) vs. Nuggets (6)
Clippers (4) vs. Grizzlies (5)

San Antonio has a magic number of one to get the top seed, so that is happening, which will lock Oklahoma City in at No. 2. Also, the Lakers’ magic number to win the Pacific (and hold on to the three seed) is one (the Lakers have the tiebreaker over the Clippers, meaning that half-game lead is really one and a half). So what we’re saying is that although it’s not yet official, the top three seeds in the West are close to locked in.

Then it gets messy. The Grizzlies are a game back but could catch the Clippers for the No. 4 seed — however a Clippers-Grizzlies matchup may be the one thing we can count on in the West. Basketball Prospectus puts the odds of that happening at 95.9 percent.

Phoenix plays Utah on Tuesday, and that could shape who gets the eight seed (Utah is one game up right now). Also, only half a game separates Denver and Dallas for the six/seven seeds, so that could shift. I wouldn’t be shocked if today’s order is the final order, but things are still fluid.

  1. dysraw1 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    its best for the knicks to face the heat, i mean if your gonna get sent home in the first round it mine as well be the so called beast of the east. so the knicks should play loose like they have nothing to lose i like the match up and even though we didnt beat them in the regular season, i believe the second season will be different. we dont fear the heat

  2. dirtybird2020 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    The heat have it bad hahaha, ive written celtics off we put up a 7 game series against pretty much the same team but a younger team and we had much less talent, bulls will beat them in 5-6, pacers would be the team im scared of, they play rough too, hahaha

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (4189)
  2. K. Love (4148)
  3. D. Rose (3950)
  4. K. Bryant (2738)
  5. R. Allen (2390)
  1. C. Anthony (2233)
  2. K. Durant (2229)
  3. B. Griffin (2068)
  4. E. Bledsoe (2064)
  5. D. Wade (1956)