NBA Playoff Picture 2018: Latest Bracket Scenarios for Final Day of Season

Apr 13, 2018, 03:54
NBA Playoff Picture 2018: Latest Bracket Scenarios for Final Day of Season

There was nothing perfunctory about the final night of the NBA's 2017-2018 season.

For the first time since 2008, LeBron James is not. He had the best assist average in the G League for the third straight season.

The Pelicans will play the Portland Trail Blazers in the postseason this year. Averaging 13 points, nine rebounds and a block per game that gives Toronto a huge advantage over Washington and its center Marcin Gortat. Philadelphia scored 113.1 points per 100 possessions during the run to close the season, giving them the second best mark in the league over the last four weeks.

It all starts Saturday, the 16-team tournament that will be a two-month grind following the six-month grind of the regular season. After studying the scenarios and such for the past few weeks, most people that cover any of the teams involved in the playoff race out West have advanced degrees in National Basketball Association playoff tiebreakers, but here's the simplest way to break down the possibilities as the Thunder head into their final regular season game against the Grizzlies...

They won an OT thriller vs. the Nuggets to make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. While the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are already locked, the remaining seeds are still to be determined. The Jazz would hold Game 6 on Friday, April 27 and the series would conclude with Game 7 in Oklahoma City on Sunday, April 29.

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James' previous high for appearances was 81, back in the 2008-09 season. Our postseason probabilities are based on the win rates that fuel our weekly power rankings and take into account a team's actual win-loss record; its expected win-loss record based on points scored and allowed, also known as its Pythagorean winning per centage; and its regressed win-loss record to account for a small sample size of only 82 games played. With an abrupt changes in the middle of the season, James managed to play along with newcomers in the system.

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas are all in the starting lineup Wednesday for Toronto at Miami.

The Raptors will either play the Bucks, Heat or Wizards.

If all three teams win, the Bucks remain in sixth with the Heat and Wizards behind them in that order.

There are also individual milestones and team records on the line.

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Not to be outdone, the Golden State Warriors kept pace with Houston for most of the season until a knee injury has sidelined two-time MVP Steph Curry since late March, with coach Steve Kerr insisting Curry would not play in the first round of the playoffs.

The Spurs will capture No. 5 seed with a win over the Pelicans and a Jazz win over Trail Blazers and a Thunder victory over Memphis.

The victor of the Minnesota-Denver clash at Target Center secures the final playoff spot in the West, but either team isn't guaranteed to finish eighth.

Portland can finish no lower than fifth, and both of the scenarios in which that could happen involve Memphis upsetting Oklahoma City, combined with a San Antonio win over New Orleans.

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