There’s just one week left in the NBA regular season and outside of several teams clinching playoff berths, very little has been decided. Top of mind for most teams in the middle of the standings is making and/ or missing the Play-In Tournament, which begins next Tuesday, May 18. Whatever its competitive merits—a subject that’s open for debate even among teammates—the new format has undoubtedly added excitement to the end of the season, which is why it was created in the first place.
Speaking of first place, that too remains up-in-the-air in both conferences. In the West, the Utah Jazz are two games up on Phoenix for the No. 1 seed with four games to go. Both will face Golden State and Portland this week (teams that are hovering around the Play-In/ Playoffs line), but the Suns finish with back-to-back games against the Spurs, who will be battling for Play-In positioning. In the East, Philly is three games up on the Nets for the No. 1 seed, and with four games to go, it would take a massive collapse for them to lose the top spot. The battle will be the No. 2 seed, where Brooklyn is currently a half-game up on Milwaukee. The Bucks, however, have a game in-hand, with two back-to-backs, plus a game on Thursday over the final week. This one may come down to the last day of the season on Sunday, which will feature every NBA team in action.
As for the Play-In, things are a lot more complicated. The field is pretty much set in the East, where the Bulls and Raptors need miracles to make it. The Pacers, Wizards, and Hornets are within two games of each other for the No. 10-8 seeds, and the Celtics, Heat, Hawks, and Knicks are separated by just three games for the No. 7-4 seeds. Out West, the Lakers have fallen all the way down to the No. 7 seed and they finish with a game against New Orleans, which needs help but could be in a win-and-in scenario. Still, with a good week, the Lakers could move all the way up to the No. 5 seed, as they're just one game back of Portland and two back from Dallas. The Nuggets have lost 3-of-4 to slip back behind the Clippers for the No. 4 seed, and with games against Toronto, Houston, and Oklahoma City, the Clippers should be able to hold on.
That’s a general overview, but the NBA still hasn’t released the schedule for the final two days of the season, a good illustration of just how up-in-the-air everything remains. UPDATE: Two national TV games have been scheduled for Sunday on ESPN. Check them out below. To watch the most NBA basketball on Sling, sign up for Orange + Blue with Sports Extras using the link at the bottom of this page.
National TV games May 10-16
|Monday, May 10|
|7:30 PM||Wizards at Hawks||NBA TV >|
|10:00 PM||Jazz at Warriors||NBA TV >|
|Tuesday, May 11|
|7:30 PM||Heat at Celtics||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Knicks at Lakers||TNT >|
|Wednesday, May 12|
|7:00 PM||Wizards at Hawks||ESPN >|
|9:30 PM||Trail Blazers at Jazz||ESPN >|
|Thursday, May 13|
|7:30 PM||76ers at Heat||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Trail Blazers at Suns||TNT >|
|Friday, May 14|
|9:30 PM||Pelicans at Warriors||ESPN >|
|Sunday, May 16|
|1:00 PM||Celtics at Knicks||ESPN >|
|3:30 PM||Grizzlies at Warriors||ESPN >|
*All games subject to blackout
Find a full schedule of NBA games HERE >
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