Thursday, May 23, 2024

Thursday’s NBA schedule to have big impact on playoff seeding

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After Thursday’s games, every NBA team will have two games remaining.

And yet, so much remains unsettled. There are 15 games Friday, with all teams off Saturday, and 15 games involving all 30 teams Sunday. Of the 20 postseason slots available, 19 are undecided. The Boston Celtics have secured the No. 1 seed in the East. After that, no team is locked into a seed.

There are five games Thursday, and four have playoff implications regarding seeds in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference.

Can New York steal the No. 2 seed from Milwaukee in the East? Can New Orleans solidify its spot in the top six in the West? Can Golden State move into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers?

There will be a lot of executives, coaches and players tuning into the games to see how the results affect the standings.

Here are Thursday’s key NBA games and how they relate to playoff scenarios:

Thursday’s NBA schedule and playoff scenarios

With a victory, the Bulls would clinch the No. 9 seed and play host to Atlanta in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 play-in game, The winner of the game will play the loser of No. 7 vs. No. 8 play-in game for the eighth seed.

The Knicks still have the No. 2 seed within reach. If they beat the Celtics, they will be one game behind Milwaukee with two games left for the Bucks and Knicks. The Bucks own the tiebreaker based on a 3-2 edge in the season series. The Celtics have the No. 1 seed in the East secured.

A Pelicans victory would put them one game ahead of Phoenix for the sixth seed and two games behind fifth-place Dallas. However, New Orleans can’t get the fifth seed even if it has the same record as Dallas because the Mavs win the tiebreaker based on division record. If the Pelicans lose, they will share the same record as Phoenix at 47-33.

If the Kings win, they would trail Phoenix and New Orleans by one game, and if they lose, they will have the same record as the Los Angeles Lakers and possibly the same record as Golden State – and they will be locked into a play-in game.

With a victory, the Warriors, who have clinched a spot in the play-in game, can tie the Lakers at 45-35, and if Sacramento loses to New Orleans and the Warriors, there would be a three-way tie for eighth place between the Kings, Lakers and Warriors. Golden State is still in position to get into the No. 7 vs. No. 8 play-in game.

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