NBA’s last-day madness explained as FIVE teams locked in dramatic race to avoid play-in

After 81 games and a lengthy campaign, the NBA playoff race goes down to the final day of the regular season, with huge seeding implications in the Western Conference.

While the Eastern Conference is locked in, along with the top four on the other side of the country, there are big questions hanging over champions Golden State, both Los Angeles teams, New Orleans and Minnesota.

Only two can avoid the play-in games and one will have to win twice just to make a proper playoff series – meaning the stakes on Monday morning (all times AEST) are high.

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Sun, 09 Apr

Sunday April 9th runs through the scenarios and what every team needs.


Play-in games

Tuesday April 11: No.8 Atlanta at No.7 Miami (winner gets No.7 seed)

Wednesday April 12: No.10 Chicago at No.9 Toronto

Friday April 14: Chicago/Toronto winner at Atlanta/Miami loser (winner gets No.8 seed)

Round 1 match-ups

No.1 Milwaukee vs No.8 (winner of [Chicago at Toronto winner] at [Atlanta at Miami loser])

No.2 Boston vs No.7 (Atlanta at Miami winner)

No.3 Philadelphia vs No.6 Brooklyn

No.4 Cleveland vs No.5 New York

Playoffs begin Saturday April 15

Clippers claim Lakers:11th straight win! | 00:48


Play-in games

Tuesday April 11: No.8 ??? at No.7 ??? (winner gets No.7 seed)

Wednesday April 12: No.10 Oklahoma City at No.9 ???

Friday April 14: Oklahoma City/??? winner at ???/??? loser (winner gets No.8 seed)

Round 1 match-ups

No.1 Denver vs No.8 (winner of [Oklahoma City at ??? winner] at [??? at ??? loser])

No.2 Memphis vs No.7 (??? at ??? winner)

No.3 Sacramento vs No.6 ???

No.4 Phoenix vs No.5 ???

Playoffs begin Saturday April 15


Standings as of Sunday April 9 5pm

No.5 LA Clippers (43-38)

Remaining game: at Phoenix, 5:30am

WIN: Finish No.5

LOSE: Finish No.5 or 6 or 7 (want Warriors/Pelicans to lose)

No.6 Golden State Warriors (43-38)

Remaining game: at Portland, 5:30am

WIN: Finish No.5 if Clippers lose; No.6 if Clippers win

LOSE: Finish No.6 or 7 or 8 (would lose tiebreakers with Clippers/Lakers/Pelicans)

No.7 Los Angeles Lakers (42-39)

Remaining game: vs Utah, 5:30am

WIN: Finish No.6 or 7 or 8 (latter only if Pelicans/Warriors/Suns win)

LOSE: Finish No.8

No.8 New Orleans Pelicans (42-39)

Remaining game: at Minnesota, 5:30am

WIN: Finish No.5, 6, 7 or 8 (former if Warriors/Clippers lose, latter if Lakers/Warriors/Clippers win)

LOSE: Finish No.9

No.9 Minnesota Timberwolves (41-40)

Remaining game: vs New Orleans, 5:30am

WIN: Finish No.7 (if Lakers lose) or No.8 (if Lakers win)

LOSE: Finish No.9

The NBA playoff race has gone down to the final day of the regular season.Source: FOX SPORTS

The main talking points…

– The Clippers are in the box seat, with a win over Phoenix ensuring they’ll play Kevin Durant’s side again in the 4-5 series;

– The Warriors, assuming they beat the tanking Trail Blazers, would finish fifth if the Clippers slip up;

– The Lakers’ best-case scenario of sixth requires the Warriors to lose, and ideally the Pelicans too;

– Pelicans at Timberwolves is a virtual playoff game, with the loser to host the Thunder in the 9-10 play-in game, and the winner likely to play in the 7-8 game, though the Pelicans could still reach as high as fifth.


From 3am

Atlanta at Boston (live on ESPN/Kayo)

Philadelphia at Brooklyn

Charlotte at Cleveland

Orlando at Miami

Indiana at New York

Milwaukee at Toronto

Houston at Washington

Detroit at Chicago

From 5:30am

San Antonio at Dallas

New Orleans at Minnesota

Memphis at Oklahoma City

Sacramento at Denver

Utah at Los Angeles Lakers (live on ESPN/Kayo)

Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix

Golden State at Portland

Follow live updates from the NBA’s final day below!

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