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NBA Playoffs 2018 Contenders – Who’s In, Who’s Not?

NBA Playoffs 2018 Contenders – Who’s In, Who’s Not?

With only days remaining in the regular season, the NBA playoffs 2018 are practically set.

But, while last year at this time we were all getting ready for another Cavs vs Warriors championship battle, this year things are beautifully messed up.

Let’s dive in and take a look.

NBA Playoff Picture

To say the race to the NBA playoffs is neck to neck is an understatement. While a few teams have already clinched their spot, things could change before the season is over.

Check out the NBA Lines

NBA Eastern Conference

Toronto Raptors – No. 1 Seed

The Raptors have their place in the playoffs already; but, in losing three of their last five games, with one of those being to Boston they’re just two games ahead of the Celtics.

Though Boston’s loss to the Bucs helped them somewhat, they play the Celtics tonight which means it’ll be a tough battle where nothing’s for certain and their hold on the No. 1 is still slippery. 

 Boston Celtics – No. 2 Seed

Though Boston’s loss to Milwaukee in their last game complicated matters, the fact is the Celtics are on the up and up even without Kyrie Irving.

If they win over the Raptors tonight, they’ll just be one game away from the top seed with a tiebreaker in hand, which is motivation enough to win tonight. 

 Cleveland Cavaliers – No. 3 Seed

The Cavs gained big time in winning over the Raptors. They’re on a four-game winning streak and you can bet your britches LeBron will be fighting tooth and claw to keep his team ahead of Philly.

Philadelphia 76ers – No. 4 Seed

Philly is just one game behind the Cavaliers for the third seed; then again, they’re only one game ahead of the Pacers for the No. 4 seed.

Indiana Pacers – No. 5 Seed

There’s quite a lot of distance between the Pacers and the sixth-seeded Wizards.

Arguably, Indiana has a lock on the No. 5 seed but they could have secured things if they had defeated the Nuggets in their last game.

On The Edge Of Claiming A Spot

As it stands, this leaves a three-way battle between Washington, Miami, and Milwaukee for seeds 6, 7, and 8.

Washington seems to be slipping and has lost their last two games. The Heat jumped ahead of the Wizards and now claims the No. 6 seed. Meanwhile, the Bucks won their last game over the Celtics and are hot on the heels of Miami.

NBA Western Conference

Houston Rockets – No. 1 Seed

The Rockets are the undisputed owners of the No. 1 overall seed

Is there anything else you need to know right now? Once the playoffs start, however, it’s anyone’s race.

With the caliber of teams in the Western Conference fighting their way to the championship, it’s very likely the Rockets might be left in another team’s dust.

Then again, it’s been a while since the Warriors aren’t hands down the favorite to win the title. 

Golden State Warriors – No. 2 Seed

While the Warriors have locked their spot in the playoffs as the No 2 seed, their concerns are in keeping their players healthy for what’s ahead.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson may be back, but Stephen Curry will likely miss the first round because of a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. 

Portland Trail Blazers – No. 3 Seed

The Blazers are in the playoffs and inches away from securing the No. 3 seed in the West.

They stumbled a bit in losing their last game to the Mavericks, but are still in a good position over the Jazz and Spurs.

Utah Jazz – No. 4 Seed

The Jazz crammed their way into the logjam by winning their last three games.

However, they have one of the toughest schedules ahead of them and could very well tumble and fall.

Should the Warriors and Trail Blazers (whom they face in the near future) feel content in resting many of their players because they’ve secured their spots, it might give Utah a shot at bagging the No. 4 seed or better. 

San Antonio Spurs – No. 5 Seed

San Antonio's monster win over the Rockets was short lived because of their loss to the Clippers in their last game.

They’re now in a head-to-head battle with the Thunder and will be scrambling to notch wins in a complicated schedule that includes games against Portland and the Pelicans. 

Oklahoma City Thunder – No. 6 Seed

The Thunder gained a big win over New Orleans on Sunday but lost their most recent game to the Warriors.

With so few games remaining, the bottom half of the conference is a crap shoot and the Thunder could find itself booted out of the playoffs. 

What’s Left?

Seeds 7 through 9 are complicated. The Timberwolves lead the Pelicans and Nuggets by just one game.

New Orleans is in disarray after losing their last four games while the Nuggets have won their last three.

Even so, none of these teams are secure right now and will have to fight with everything they’ve got if they’re to make their way into the playoffs. 

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