NBA Playoff Picture

Matthew Greenberg, Sports Editor

Courtesy of NBA
Courtesy of NBA

The NBA season is wrapping up, and that means the playoffs are just around the corner. The regular season ends on Wednesday, April 17, and the playoffs begin just three days later on Saturday, April 20. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s desperate for that last seed to earn a playoff berth? Let’s take a look.
The Eastern Conference is almost completely wrapped up. The Miami Heat clinched the conference title by a huge margin and are on their way to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. The New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers come in as the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. As of April 3, these teams are only separated by one game, so look for there to be a back and forth for who will earn the higher seed. Following them are the Brooklyn Nets, the Atlanta Hawks, and our very own Chicago Bulls at the No. 4, 5, and 6 seeds. All of these teams are within two games of each other, and since they have all clinched a playoff spot, it would come as no surprise to see these three teams shuffle around seeding as well.

Finally, the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds currently belong to the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. As of April 3, these teams have not yet clinched a playoff spot, but are at least six games ahead of the next best team.
While the Eastern Conference is almost completely locked in place, save for some shuffling of seeds, the Western Conference is all over the place. The San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder come in as the top two seeds, but they are within one game of each other, and an end of season run could determine which team comes out on top.
Coming in as the No. 3, 4, and 5 seeds are the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Memphis Grizzlies. All of these teams are within one game of each other, and a few wins in the right direction could be the determining factor for seed placement. Be sure to watch the Grizzlies vs. the Clippers on April 13, as that will almost certainly be a key game for each team.
The Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets currently hold the No. 6 and 7 seeds in the West. These teams are also only one game apart from each other, and both have relatively difficult schedules to close out the season. Neither team has clinched a playoff spot just yet, and there are plenty of teams who are hungry for their seeds. Among those teams are the No. 8 seeded Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz and Lakers are currently tied, but the Jazz hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. As of April 3, the Lakers need to win one more of their last seven games than the Jazz in order to earn the last seed in the West.
We all love watching our Chicago Bulls trample their opponents, and heading into the end of the regular season and the playoffs, there is no doubt that they need our support as much now as ever. But if pre-playoff action is at all appealing, take the time to follow some of the games coming out of the West; they promise to bring the drama that the end of every basketball season deserves.