NBA standings, playoff picture: Current bracket, matchups as Lakers further solidify Play-in positioning

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The NBA playoffs are almost here. Just three weeks remain in the regular season, with the postseason set to begin on April 16 with the Play-In Tournament. The playoffs get started April 20. While it seems likely we know most of the teams that are going to qualify for the postseason, there is plenty to be decided in the regular season’s closing weeks. Seeding, home-court advantage and the chance to avoid the Play-In Tournament are all on the line between now and April 14.

So what’s the latest in the NBA’s playoff picture? The Mavericks took care of business against the Kings on Tuesday to move into the West’s No. 6 seed. The Kings fall into the Play-in for the time being at No. 7. Dallas, which has won five straight and nine of its past 10, and Sacramento have one more head-to-head remaining, with Sac holding a 2-1 season-series advantage for the tiebreaker. 

Also on Tuesday, the Lakers stormed back from 19 down to defeat the Bucks and further solidify their Play-in positioning. Had the Lakers lost, they would’ve held just a two-game lead over the surging Rockets, who also currently hold the tiebreaker. A three-game lead for the Lakers with 10 to play feels a lot safer to at least secure one of the final two Play-in spots, and it could be better than that. The Lakers only trail No. 8 Phoenix by two in the loss column with the tiebreaker already sealed. 

As a reminder, the NBA’s Play-In Tournament will determine the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in both conferences. Four teams in each conference (the 7-10 seeds) will enter the Play-In Tournament, while the top six seeds will automatically qualify for playoff spots. The seventh- and eighth-placed teams will face each other for the No. 7 seed. The ninth- and 10th-placed teams will face each other in another game, and then the loser of the No. 7/No. 8 game will face the winner of the No. 9/No. 10 game for the No. 8 seed.

For the remainder of the season, this will be your one-stop shop playoff picture. We’ve got you covered on everything from the current standings to tiebreaker scenarios and magic numbers for both play-in spots and top-six seeds. 

Here’s where we stand entering play on Wednesday, March 27.

Playoff bracket if the season ended today…

West
(1) Nuggets vs. (8) Kings/Suns/Lakers/Warriors
(2) Thunder vs. (7) Kings/Suns
(3) Timberwolves vs. (6) Mavericks
(4) Pelicans vs. (5) Clippers

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

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS

  • Clinched: Play-in spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (2)
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: OKC has clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Minnesota: Tied 1-1 with two to play
  • Clinched: Play-in spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (3)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver: OKC has clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Minnesota: OKC currently owns as division leader
  • Clinched: Play-in spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (4)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver: Tied 1-1 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: OKC currently owns as division leader
  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (4)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Clippers lead 2-0 with two to play

5. New Orleans Pelicans (44-28)

  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (4)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Pelicans have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Pelicans have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns lead 1-0 with two to play
  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (6)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Kings lead 2-1 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Mavs clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Mavs lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Mavs clinched

PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT

  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (6)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Kings lead 2-1 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Tied 2-2 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Kings lead via division record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Kings have clinched
  • Magic Numbers: Play-In spot (6)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Suns lead 1-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Clippers lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Tied 2-2 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Mavs clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Suns clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Lakers clinched

9. Los Angeles Lakers (40-32)

  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (8)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Lakers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Mavs clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Kings clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Houston: Rockets lead via conference record
  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (11)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Kings lead via division record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Mavs lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Rockets: Warriors clinched

IN THE HUNT

  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Rockets lead via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Warriors: Warriors clinched

EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS

1. Boston Celtics (57-15)

  • Clinched: No. 1 seed
  • Magic Number: Best overall record (5)

2. Milwaukee Bucks (46-26)

  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (4)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland: Bucks lead via division leader
  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (6)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Milwaukee: Bucks lead via division leader
  • Tiebreaker vs. New York: Cavs clinched
  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (7)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland: Cavs clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Orlando: Magic clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami: Knicks clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia: Knicks clinched

5. Orlando Magic (42-29)

  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (8)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New York: Magic clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana: Magic clinched

6. Indiana Pacers (41-32)

  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Magic Number: Playoff spot (9)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Orlando: Magic clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia: Pacers clinched

PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT

  • Clinched: Play-In spot
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia: Miami leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Clinched: Play-in spot
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana: Pacers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami: Miami leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (4)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Atlanta: Bulls clinched
  • Magic Number: Play-In spot (6)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Chicago: Bulls clinched

Looking for more NBA coverage? John Gonzalez, Bill Reiter, Ashley Nicole Moss and special guests dive deep into the league’s biggest storylines daily on the Beyond the Arc podcast.

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