A huge game will impact the NBA Playoff picture for 2018 on Wednesday night as the majority of the league plays their final games of the season. Both the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are clinging to hopes of snagging a spot in the Western Conference playoff bracket, but unfortunately, only one team can do so. Meanwhile, the positioning of teams in the East and West will also need to be decided on this dramatic final day of the regular season. The matchups that fans are seeing in the NBA Playoff brackets now won’t match what they see 12 hours from now.
According to the NBA website, 11 seeds are still up for grabs between the Eastern and Western Conference playoff picture. That isn’t just in the bottom half of the eight teams in either conference, but also near the top. While the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets have laid claim to the top overall seeds in their conferences, other teams are still vying for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots.
That includes Cleveland and Philadelphia in the East, as well as Utah and Portland out West. Additionally, the No. 6 through No. 8 seeds could change in either conference with tonight’s results. In one particular matchup, fans could see a playoff preview as the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks battle in Philly.
Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
- Toronto Raptors (59-22) vs. 8. Washington Wizards (43-38)
- Boston Celtics (54-27) vs. 7. Miami Heat (43-38)
- Philadelphia 76ers (51-30) vs. 6. Milwaukee Bucks (44-37)
- Cleveland Cavs (50-31) vs. 5. Indiana Pacers (48-34)
As seen in the above Eastern Conference playoff picture right now, both the Wizards and Heat hold identical records, while Milwaukee is right there with them at 44-37. Tonight’s results will impact which of these teams takes the six, seven, and eight spots.
Out in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets have dominated the competition this season behind MVP candidate James Harden. He and Houston have grabbed the best overall record heading into the postseason, which means home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Meanwhile, an interesting first-round matchup looms for the defending champions. The Golden State Warriors are the No. 2 seed with Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder current a No. 7 seed.
Western Conference Standings
- Houston Rockets (65-16) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (46-35)
- Golden State Warriors (58-24) vs. 7. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-34)
- Utah Jazz (48-33) vs. 6. San Antonio Spurs (47-34)
- Portland Trail Blazers (48-33) vs. 5. New Orleans Pelicans (47-34)
As mentioned, tonight will not only feature teams vying for seeds, but the Timberwolves and Nuggets will also fight for a playoff spot. Both teams have 46-35 records. The winner heads to the postseason while the losing team stays home to watch. Tonight’s huge matchup takes place at Minnesota’s Target Center, where the home team has gone 19-5 in their past 24 contests. However, Denver has gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, including a five-game winning streak, showing just how hard they’re fighting for that final spot in the West.
The Minnesota Timberwolves seem to have the advantage in terms of star power, though, as well as that home court advantage. According to Odds Shark, the home team will be a four-point favorite in what could end up being a fight to the finish for these two teams, capping off an exciting night of NBA games with playoff implications.
Update: The Timberwolves defeated the Nuggets on Wednesday night, 112-106 in overtime. Minnesota will be the No. 8 seed and take on the Houston Rockets for the first round of the NBA Playoffs.