NBA PM: Playoff Picture Update

A look at what the playoffs would look like if they were to start today and the potential shakeups we could see before the end of the regular season next week.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Playoff Picture Update

There are six days left in the NBA’s regular season, but the bottom half of the playoff picture is still far from clear in both conferences. In today’s NBA PM, we’re going to take a look at what possible shakeups to expect before the first round playoff matchups get set.

Eastern Conference

If the playoffs were to start today, the matchups would look as follows:

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks
(2) Miami HEAT vs. (7) Washington Wizards
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Charlotte Bobcats
(4) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Brooklyn Nets

– The Pacers are only a half game up on the HEAT in the win column at 54-25. They could swap positions.
– The Raptors and Bulls have identical records at 46-32. They could swap positions.
– The Nets can climb as high as three or finish as low as seven.
– The Bobcats and Wizards have identical records at 40-38. They could finish as high as fifth.
– The New York Knicks are two games back of the Hawks, the only team yet to clinch in the East. Neither can earn anything higher than the eighth spot.
– The Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks have been eliminated from playoff contention

Games remaining:
Indiana: 3 (@Miami, vs. Oklahoma City, @Orlando)
Miami: 4 (vs. Indiana, @Atlanta, @Washington, vs. Philadelphia)
Toronto: 4 (vs. New York, @Detroit, vs. Milwaukee, @New York)
Chicago: 4 (vs. Detroit, @New  York), vs. Orlando, @Charlotte)
Brooklyn: 4 (vs. Atlanta, vs. Orlando, vs. New York, @Cleveland)
Charlotte: 4 (@Boston, vs. Philadelphia, @Atlanta, vs. Chicago)
Washington: (@Orlando, vs. Milwaukee, vs. Miami, @Boston)
Atlanta: 4 (@Brooklyn, vs. Miami, vs. Charlotte, @Milwaukee)
New York: 3 (@Toronto, vs. Chicago, @Brooklyn, vs. Toronto)

Western Conference

If the playoffs were to start today, the matchups would look as follows:

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Phoenix Suns
(2) Oklahoma City vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks
(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) Golden State Warriors
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers

– The Spurs have a three game lead on the Thunder. They could swap positions.
– The Clippers are two and a half games back of the Thunder. They could swap positions, but the Clippers can’t finish higher than second.
-The Rockets are two and a half games back of the Clippers. They can finish no higher than third.
– The Trail Blazers are a game and a half behind the Rockets, they can finish no higher than fourth.
– The Warriors have yet to clinch their spot, they could finish as high as fourth and as low as ninth.
– The Mavericks have yet to clinch their spot, they can finish as high as fifth and as low as ninth.
– The Suns have yet to clinch their spot, they can finish as high as fifth and as low as ninth.
– The Grizzlies have yet to clinch their spot, they can finish as high as sixth and as low as ninth.
– The Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Games remaining:
San Antonio: 4 (@Dallas, vs. Phoenix, @Houston, vs. Los Angeles Lakers)
Oklahoma City: 4 (vs. New Orleans, @Indiana, @New Orleans, vs. Detroit)
Los Angeles: 3 (vs. Sacramento, vs, Denver, @Portland)
Houston: 4 (@Minnesota, vs. New Orleans, vs. San Antonio, @New Orleans)
Portland: 3 (@Utah, vs. Golden State, vs. Los Angeles Clippers)
Golden State: 5 (vs. Denver, @Los Angeles Lakers, @Portland, vs. Minnesota, @Denver)
Dallas: 3 (vs. San Antonio, vs. Phoenix, @Memphis)
Phoenix: 4 (@San Antonio, @Dallas, vs. Memphis, @Sacramento)
Memphis: 4 (vs. Philadelphia, @Los Angeles Lakers, @Phoenix, @Dallas)

Activity Around the League

Here’s a look at the latest movement around in the NBA as teams continue to make additions and subtractions in the final week.

  • Former Syracuse sharpshooter James Southerland has been called up by the New Orleans Pelicans for the rest of the season. Southerland went undrafted last season, but spent time with the Golden State Warriors in summer league and the Charlotte Bobcats during training camp. In 42 games with the Los Angeles Defenders, he averaged 14.6 points, making 65 threes at a 32 percent clip. Part of the reason why they signed Southerland may be that Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon are going to be out for the remainder of the season, making this an ideal time to audition a young player they’re interested in beyond this season.
  • The Chicago Bulls officially announced the signings of Mike James and Lou Amundson today. They recently added Ronnie Brewer as well. All three signings are mainly for depth purposes, although K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that James and Brewer’s deals have non-guaranteed options for next year, so they could potentially earn a spot for next season if they fill their role well enough.
  • Veteran big man D.J. White signed with the Charlotte Bobcats for the rest of the season today. He previously played through two 10-day contracts with them. He has only seen action in two games.
  • The Houston Rockets waived Greg Smith today in favor of Dexter Pittman, who they called up from the Austin Toros. Pittman was averaging 11.3 points and 6.8 rebounds. Smith struggled with injuries this season, only playing in 11 games after a breakout campaign last season. Pittman was on the Miami HEAT for their championship run in 2012 and provides similar size to Smith. He’ll be the third center for the Rockets behind Dwight Howard and Omer Asik.
  • Both Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Kentucky’s Julius Randle took to Twitter to dispute reports that they have decided to declare for the NBA Draft. However, they’re both expected to eventually declare as Randle is likely going to be a top-eight pick while Stauskas’ stock is pretty safely in the middle portion of the first.

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Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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