Thursday, May 26, 2022

2022 NBA Playoff Picture: Nets seal No. 7 spot, rest of play-in seeds set; Celtics control destiny for No. 2

We’re about halfway through the final day of the 2021-22 NBA regular season, and a lot has been decided, including all the East play-in seeds. The Brooklyn Nets will be No. 7, the Cleveland Cavaliers No. 8, the Atlanta Hawks No. 9 and the Charlotte Hornets No. 10. 

Still to be decided: East’s 2-4 seeds and West’s 3-4 and 5-6 seeds. 

Below are the current first-round and play-in matchups that are locked in. We will be updating this post as more seeds and matchups get locked in. 

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Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat

Miami has clinched the No. 1 seed. 

  • Current first-round matchup: TBD (play-in results)

2. Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee lost to the Cavs on Sunday, meaning if the Celtics beat the Grizzlies it will be Boston that wins the No. 2 seed by way of a fourth tiebreaker — record against Eastern Conference playoff teams (Boston 20-13, Milwaukee 17-16).

In the case of a three-way tie between Milwaukee, Boston and Philadelphia, which remains a possibility if both Boston and Philly win their final game, the tiebreaker criteria is to recognize division winners first, which would remove Philadelphia from the equation as Boston would win the Atlantic division via a better division record. Then it would be down to Milwaukee and Boston as division winners, which sends it back to a straight two-team tiebreaker. And as we just went over, Boston would win that tiebreaker via record against East playoff teams, leaving Boston No. 2, Milwaukee No. 3 and Philadelphia No. 4. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Nets vs. Cavaliers play-in winner
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 3 Boston: Boston has clinched via record vs. East playoff teams (see above for scenario)
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 4 Philadelphia: Bucks have clinched via 2-1 head-to-head advantage

3. Boston Celtics

The Celtics are in position to claim the No. 2 seed with a win over Memphis Sunday night. (See above for tiebreaker scenario over the Bucks).

In the case of a three-way tie between Milwaukee, Boston and Philadelphia, which remains a possibility if the Sixers and Celtics both win their final game tonight, the tiebreaker criteria is to recognize division winners first, which would remove Philadelphia from the equation as Boston would win the Atlantic division via a better division record. Then it would be down to Milwaukee and Boston as division winners, which sends it back to a straight two-team tiebreaker. And as we just went over, Boston would win that tiebreaker via record against East playoff teams, leaving Boston No. 2, Milwaukee No. 3 and Philadelphia No. 4. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Bulls
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 2 Milwaukee: Celtics lead season series 2-1 with one game remaining
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 4 Philadelphia: Celtics have clinched via Atlantic division record (head-to-head tied 2-2)

4. Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers can only move to No. 3 if they beat the Pistons and the Celtics lose to Memphis. In the case of either a three-way tie with Boston and Milwaukee, the tiebreaker criteria is to recognize division winners first, which would remove Philadelphia from the equation as Boston would win the Atlantic division via a better division record. Then it would be down to Milwaukee and Boston as division winners, which sends it back to a straight two-team tiebreaker. And as we just went over, Boston would win that tiebreaker via record against East playoff teams, leaving Boston No. 2, Milwaukee No. 3 and Philadelphia No. 4. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Raptors
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 2 Boston: Boston has clinched via Atlantic division record
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 3 Milwaukee: Bucks have clinched via 2-1 head-to-head advantage
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 5 Toronto: Raptors have clinched via 3-1 head-to-head advantage

5. Toronto Raptors  

The Raptors are locked into the No. 5 seed. 

  • Current play-in matchup: 76ers

6. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are locked into the No. 6 seed. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Bucks

East play-in matchups

  • April 12: No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 7 Brooklyn Nets

  • April 13: No. 10 Charlotte Hornets at No. 7 Atlanta Hawks

  • April 15: Winner of Charlotte/Atlanta vs. Loser of Cleveland/Brooklyn

wolves-g.jpg

The Wolves can celebrate a little as they’ll go into the West play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed. Getty Images

Western Conference

1. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix has clinched the No. 1 overall seed. 

  • Current first-round matchup: TBD (play-in results)  

2. Memphis Grizzlies 

The Grizzlies have clinched the No. 2 seed. 

3. Golden State Warriors

The Warriors will be the No. 3 seed with a win over New Orleans Sunday night or a Dallas loss to San Antonio. If they lose, and Dallas beats the Spurs, Golden State will drop to No. 4. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Nuggets
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 4 Mavericks: Dallas has clinched with 3-1 head-to-head advantage

4. Dallas Mavericks 

Dallas can only jump to No. 3 with a win over the Spurs and a Warriors loss to the Pelicans. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Jazz

  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 3 Warriors: Dallas has clinched with a 3-1 head-to-head advantage

5. Utah Jazz 

Utah will clinch the No. 5 seed with a win over Portland or a Denver loss to the Lakers Sunday night. 

  • Current first-round matchup: Mavericks
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 6 Nuggets: Jazz have clinched with a 4-0 head-to-head advantage

6. Denver Nuggets 

The Nuggets need to beat the Lakers and have the Jazz lose to the Blazers tonight to jump to the No. 6 seed, otherwise Denver will be No. 6. 

  • Current play-in matchup: Warriors
  • Tiebreaker vs. No. 5 Jazz: Utah has clinched with 4-0 head-to-head advantage

West play-in matchups

  • April 12: No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers at No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves

  • April 13: No. 10 San Antonio Spurs at No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans

  • April 15: Loser of Clippers/Minnesota vs. Winner of San Antonio/New Orleans

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