NBA playoff standings for the 2017 season continue to shift in the final week. With the 2017 NBA Playoffs set to begin shortly, there is still a battle for not only the eighth seed in both conferences but also for the No. 1 seed in the East. The Cleveland Cavaliers came away with a huge victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night (April 5), but the Cavs still have some work to do to clinch homecourt advantage. With four games left, they are just one-and-a-half games ahead of the Celtics.
In the updated NBA standings, the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat are all battling for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls hold a tiebreaker with the Pacers, but both teams are only half a game ahead of the Heat for a playoff spot. It's going to come down to the final regular season games for each of these teams, and the 2017 NBA playoff standings could still shift quite a bit.
The Bulls have a decided advantage over the Pacers and Heat, as the team still has two games left against the lowly Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have the worst record in the entire NBA, suggesting two easy wins and a playoff spot for the Bulls. Equally important are the races for the No. 3 seed between the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, as well as the battle for the No. 5 seed between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks.
2017 NBA Playoff Standings (Eastern Conference)
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-27)2. Boston Celtics (50-29)3. Toronto Raptors (48-31)4. Washington Wizards (48-31)5. Atlanta Hawks (40-38)6. Milwaukee Bucks (40-39)7. Chicago Bulls (39-40)8. Indiana Pacers (39-40)9. Miami Heat (38-40)
The Golden State Warriors were receiving a strong challenge from the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but the Warriors have since started to really pull away. In the latest NBA playoff standings, the Warriors have actually clinched that top seed, earning homecourt advantage through the entire 2017 NBA Playoffs. That would even include a matchup in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers again.
An intense battle for the No. 4 seed in the West is taking place between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. Only half a game separates the two teams, but the Clippers know how important it would be to clinch homecourt with the fourth seed. It's tough to play in Utah, and the Clippers have not been a great road team. These two teams are already set up for a first-round matchup in the NBA playoff standings, with only the homecourt left to decide.
The Portland Trail Blazers recently took the No. 8 seed away from the Denver Nuggets and have pushed it to a one-and-a-half games lead. The Blazers have been playing inspired basketball in the second half of the NBA season, but the recent injury to starting center Jusuf Nurkic has been hard for the team to deal with. While a report by CBS Sports had stated that Nurkic would miss the rest of the regular season, it's still possible that he could return in time to participate in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
2017 NBA Playoff Standings (Western Conference)
1. Golden State Warriors (65-14)2. San Antonio Spurs (60-18)3. Houston Rockets (53-25)4. Utah Jazz (48-30)5. Los Angeles Clippers (48-31)6. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33)7. Memphis Grizzlies (42-37)8. Portland Trail Blazers (39-40)9. Denver Nuggets (37-41)
If the current NBA playoff standings remain the same, the first-round matchups in the Western Conference are the Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, and Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers. The first-round matchups in the Eastern Conference project to be the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, and Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks.
There is still about a week of games left to be played before the 2017 NBA Playoffs tip off, presenting an opportunity for the standings to still shift a bit. As it currently stands, there are some very good matchups projected from the NBA playoff standings, suggesting this postseason could be filled with some great games.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]