MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat have long been locked into the top seed in the NBA playoffs but the rest of the field is almost decided as the NBA regular season wraps up this week.
The Heat will take on the eight-seed Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round. The Heat won the season series against the Bucks 3-1 and Milwaukee didn’t look competitive with the Heat in the second-half of the season, though in all due respect to the Bucks, not many teams did.
Then things get a little bit muddled with the four-seed versus five-seed matchup. The Atlanta Hawks are currently the five-seed and would play the Brooklyn Nets if they can beat the Toronto Raptors Tuesday and the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
But, if the Hawks lose either of those games and the Bulls beat the Wizards, Chicago would jump Atlanta and become the five-seed. Brooklyn, the four-seed, will take on either the Hawks or Bulls and Indiana will play the other team.
The other Eastern Conference playoff matchup will feature the two-seed New York Knicks against the Boston Celtics. The way the playoffs are set up right now, the Eastern Conference Finals could be a matchup between the Knicks and Heat and Miami lost the season series to New York this year.
The Western Conference is a completely different monster. The biggest question hanging over the Western Conference is will the Los Angeles Lakers get into the playoffs. The Lakers play the Rockets on Wednesday and if they win, not only do they get into the playoffs but they jump to the seven seed.
On the other hand, if Houston can beat the Lakers, then Utah can become the eight-seed by beating the Memphis Grizzlies. Put simply, for the Los Angeles Lakers, win and you’re in. Otherwise they have to become the biggest Grizzlies fans in the country as Memphis holds their playoff hopes in their hands.
As of Tuesday morning, if the Western Conference playoffs started today, Oklahoma City would play the Los Angeles Lakers as the one-seed versus the eight-seed. The L.A. Clippers would play the Memphis Grizzlies in the 4 vs. 5 game while the Denver Nuggets would play Golden State in the 3 vs. 6 game and the Spurs would play the Rockets in the 2 vs. 7 game.
Incidentally, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver, all won the season series over their opponents.