The latest NBA Playoffs 2018 standings reveal that almost all of the spots have been claimed for the Eastern Conference, but not out West. Between the two conferences, there are three teams still with an outside chance to make their way into the postseason, as the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets have all yet to be officially eliminated. Here’s the latest on which teams are where and who might be able to get into the NBA Playoffs before the season ends.
As of Sunday’s NBA games, there were seven teams that had clinched in the East standings and just two in the West. The Toronto Raptors hold the top spot by two games over the Boston Celtics, with the Cleveland Cavaliers in third place. The Cavs aren’t going to catch Boston or Toronto but will need to worry about keeping home court advantage. Right now they’re 46-30 record is identical to that of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team in fourth place. The Indiana Pacers are just a game back at 45-31 with six left on their schedule. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards have clinched the sixth spot while Milwaukee (41-35) and the Miami Heat are (41-36) in the final two spots, but have yet to clinch.
Eastern Conference Playoff Standings:
- Toronto Raptors (55-21)
- Boston Celtics (53-23)
- Cleveland Cavs (46-30)
- Philadelphia 76ers (46-30)
- Indiana Pacers (45-31)
- Washington Wizards (42-34)
- Milwaukee Bucks (41-34)
- Miami Heat (41-36)
- Detroit Pistons (36-40)
That leaves an opening for Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons (36-40). The team had been hovering around the eight spot for most of the second half of the seasons, along with the Charlotte Hornets who found themselves eliminated a few days ago. Detroit is down to six games on their schedule including Sunday night’s away game against the Brooklyn Nets. The team has a relatively easy schedule that will feature Dallas, Memphis, and Chicago, as well as two playoff teams: Toronto and Philadelphia. Basically, the Pistons need to hope for the teams above them to falter some in order to keep their chances alive.
Meanwhile, out West, the top team in the league has been the Houston Rockets as they were the first to clinch a spot. So did the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, but after that, there are six spots with eight teams fighting for them. The Portland Trail Blazers (47-29) would be a No. 3 seed if the season ended today, while the San Antonio Spurs (44-32) would be the fourth-place team, depending on today’s game against Houston. The Rockets have earned home-court advantage all throughout the Western Conference Playoffs which could help improve their chances at the NBA Finals.
The bottom half of the Western Conference standings has the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and New Orleans Pelicans still trying to clinch. All of those teams have 33 losses, with two of them at 43 wins and the other two at 44 wins. However, the Los Angeles Clippers (41-35) and Denver Nuggets (41-35) are right there in the mix and contending for the final spots. All of these teams seem deserving at this point, but unfortunately, two will miss the postseason.
Western Conference Playoff Standings:
- Houston Rockets (62-14) W
- Golden State Warriors (55-21) P
- Portland Trail Blazers (47-29)
- San Antonio Spurs (44-32)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (44-33)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (44-33)
- Utah Jazz (43-33)
- New Orleans Pelicans (43-33)
- L.A. Clippers (41-35)
- Denver Nuggets (41-35)
W – clinched Western Conference
P – won Pacific Division
The Clippers have a tough road facing them, with games against the Spurs, Jazz, Nuggets, and Pelicans, as well as the overachieving Lakers. A lot will depend on how well Los Angeles can handle those upcoming contests, but it might be tough since they play several teams also looking to clinch.
The Nuggets will games against almost all playoff teams, with the Bucks and Pacers from the East followed by the Timberwolves, Clippers, Blazers, and Timberwolves, again to close the season. That seems to bode well for the teams ahead of them at the moment, but time will tell as the season concludes one week from Thursday.