All The Playoff And Play-In Scenarios For The Last Day Of The NBA Season

The NBA’s regular season will come to a conclusion on Sunday, as all 30 teams are in action, with teams in the East playing at 1 p.m. ET and teams in the West playing at 3:30 p.m. ET.

While we know the 10 teams in each conference that will continue on into the postseason, there is still an awful lot to determine when it comes to seeding and matchups. In the East, Boston has locked up the No. 1 seed and the 9-10 Play-In game between the Hawks and Bulls in Chicago is set in stone, but the 2-8 spots are all still up for grabs.

The 2-seed race is pretty simple. If the Bucks beat the Magic, they get it. If the Bucks lose and the Knicks beat the Bulls, they get it. If the Bucks lose, the Knicks lose, and the Cavs win, they get it. If all three lose, it’s the Bucks again.

The Cavs are most likely going to the 4-seed (6 out of 8 scenarios put them there), while the Knicks are the 3-seed in 5 of 8 scenarios). The full scenario board can be found below via the NBA.

For the battle for 5-8, well, it’s a mess. There are a number of tiebreakers that could be at play, but with the caveat that there are a few exceptions that get them there if they lose, Orlando and Indiana will be thinking “win and in” as it relates to a top-6 seed. Meanwhile, the Sixers and Heat will need some help to vault out of the Play-In.

Out West, things are even more fascinating as the top three teams are all tied for first at 56-25. The only seeds locked in are the Clippers and Mavs in the 4-5 matchup, as those two once again are destined to do battle in the first round.

If all three top teams win (or if all three lose) on Sunday, it’s the Thunder that land the top seed, Minnesota gets into the 2-seed, and Denver goes to the 3. If the Wolves beat the Suns and either of the other two lose, it’s Minnesota in the 1-seed. Denver’s only path to the 1-seed is for them to beat Memphis and then both the Thunder and Wolves lose, otherwise they are in the 2 or 3 spot. OKC, meanwhile, is the No. 1 seed if they win against Dallas as long as Denver doesn’t lose to Memphis.

The battle for the 6 or 7 seed is simple. The only way Phoenix gets the 6-seed is to beat the Timberwolves and have the Lakers beat the Pelicans. Any other outcome and it’s New Orleans getting the last guaranteed playoff spot in the West.

As for the rest of the Play-In, there is one scenario that gets the Warriors into the 8-seed, and that is for Golden State to beat the Jazz and both the Kings and Lakers lose. Otherwise, they’re in the 9/10 game. The Lakers earn the 8-seed with a win or if all three teams lose. The Kings need to win and have a Lakers loss to avoid the 9/10.