NBA Playoff Brackets 2015: Miami Heat, OKC Thunder About To Miss NBA Playoffs?

NBA playoff brackets for 2015 are starting to really take shape. An updated look at the current 2015 NBA playoff brackets, though, reveals that the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are no longer in the picture. Miami lost a game that it really needed to win on Thursday night (April 9), falling 89-78 to the Chicago Bulls at home. It included Miami scoring just eight points in a very ugly third quarter performance. Now the team is 1 1/2 games back from the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference standings, the OKC Thunder have fallen to the No. 9 spot, yielding the No. 8 playoff spot to the New Orleans Pelicans. With just four games left on the schedule, the Pelicans also hold the head-to-head tie-breaker in that series. It means that if the teams finish with the same record, the Pelicans will be heading to a first-round match-up with the Golden State Warriors.

Breaking down the West a bit further, as things currently stand on April 10, the 2015 NBA playoff brackets look pretty competitive. First-round match-ups would be the Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans, the Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs, and the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers. The teams listed first would serve as hosts of the first two games in each series, but there is a heavy chance that things could shift before the end of the regular season.

The Eastern Conference playoff brackets currently consist of the Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks, and the Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards. A number of NBA analysts are pretty frustrated that only the top five playoff teams in the East have a record better than.500, but that’s still how the format works in basketball. The closest battle in the playoff seeding for the East comes for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Currently the 47-32 Bulls are just half a game ahead of the 46-32 Raptors.

The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks have already clinched the best record in their respective conferences, guaranteeing home court advantage through the postseason. If the teams were to meet in the 2015 NBA Finals, Golden State would host the first two games, thanks to having the better record (64-15). As previously reported on the Inquisitr, the biggest story of the NBA offseason was LeBron James returning to Cleveland. The team has already clinched the No. 2 seed in the East and would have home court against any team not from Atlanta this postseason.

One other race to pay close attention to in the East is for the No. 8 spot. The Indiana Pacers trail the Nets by just one game for that slot, and just had Paul George return from a broken leg. Both teams have four more games, meaning there is still a real battle to decide which team plays the Atlanta hawks in the first round. The 2015 NBA playoff brackets could come down to the final day of the regular season, and with just over a week left to go, things are about to get very exciting.

[Image Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]