Sunday August 18th, 2019 9:39AM

Spurs, Pelicans, Thunder all in; 1 spot left in West race

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A look at the NBA playoff picture, with two days remaining in the regular season and now only one berth left to be decided:


The NBA says there are 56 possible seeding scenarios still in play going into the final two days of the regular season.

All but one of the 16 playoff spots has been clinched, with the Minnesota-Denver game on Wednesday deciding the final berth in the postseason. But going into Tuesday, the next-to-last day of the regular season, only five of the 16 seeds have been wrapped up.

If Portland beats Utah, the Blazers finish No. 3 in the Western Conference. The Jazz could also reach No. 3, but could fall as far as No. 7 depending on the outcome of other games. And here's how confusing some of the tiebreakers are: Even the NBA needed to correct itself after originally saying the Portland-Utah winner would finish No. 3, no matter what.

San Antonio, Oklahoma City and New Orleans could all be anywhere from fourth through eighth in the West. Minnesota would finish anywhere from fifth through eighth if it tops Denver, and the Nuggets — if they beat the Timberwolves — will be fifth, sixth or seventh.

Houston is No. 1 in the West, followed by Golden State at No. 2. The clinched East seeds are No. 1 Toronto, No. 2 Boston and No. 5 Indiana.

Philadelphia and Cleveland will be No. 3 and No. 4 in the East, in some order. Going into Tuesday, Milwaukee, Miami and Washington all could finish either sixth, seventh or eighth in the East.


The playoffs start Wednesday.

Officially, that's not true. But the Denver at Minnesota game on Wednesday night may as well be considered a play-in game: Winner moves on, loser goes home.

Monday started with four spots available out West, and ended with only one still unclaimed. New Orleans, San Antonio and Oklahoma City all won to clinch their playoff berths — the Spurs doing so for the 21st consecutive year, tying Portland for the second-longest run in NBA history and moving one shy of tying Philadelphia's league record (which started when the 76ers were the Syracuse Nationals).

The funny part about Monday's triple-clinchings is that nothing changed in the standings. The order of the top eight remains the same, going into the next-to-last day of the regular season.

It won't stay that way. Get ready for craziness. Oklahoma City can remain No. 7 in the West, but only if it loses to Memphis (and a lot of other things happen).

All we really know is this: Wednesday night will be great fun.


Cleveland won the Central Division and locked Indiana into the No. 5 seed with a win at New York.

Milwaukee is now up to No. 6 in the East, flip-flopping spots with now-No. 7 Miami. The Bucks beat Orlando, while the Heat could get nothing going and got routed in the fourth quarter on the way to losing to the Thunder.

The Bucks wrap up No. 6 with a win at Philadelphia on Wednesday night. But the 76ers will go into the final day with a chance at the No. 3 spot, regardless of whether they win in Atlanta on Tuesday.


— Charlotte at Indiana: No playoff impact, Pacers will be the No. 5 seed.

— Philadelphia at Atlanta: Philadelphia can be No. 3 seed by winning last two, and stretching its winning streak to 16.

— Boston at Washington: A potential first-round matchup if Wizards finish seventh. Washington can also be No. 6 or No. 8.

— Golden State at Utah: Jazz still could get to the No. 3 seed. Warriors could be first NBA team with 30 road wins in three straight seasons.

— Phoenix at Dallas: No playoff impact, Suns have clinched NBA's worst record.

— Houston at L.A. Lakers: No playoff impact, Lakers aiming for winning home record.


First-round matchups if the season ended Monday ...

East: 1-Toronto vs. 8-Washington, 2-Boston vs. 7-Miami, 3-Philadelphia vs. 6-Milwaukee, 4-Cleveland vs. 5-Indiana.

West: 1-Houston vs. 8-Minnesota, 2-Golden State vs. 7-Oklahoma City, 3-Portland vs. 6-San Antonio, 4-Utah vs. 5-New Orleans.


Neither Denver nor Minnesota has ever missed the playoffs in a 46-win season. One will this year.


"We know we can beat anybody when we're playing our best." — Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, after the Thunder clinched their spot.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Spurs, Pelicans, Thunder all in; 1 spot left in West race
There's only one spot left in the NBA playoffs, and it'll go to either Minnesota or Denver
1:38AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit for Congress testimony
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit
1:34AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit to Congress testimony
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit
1:31AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
LEADING OFF: Yankees-Red Sox ramp up, Ohtani could return
LEADING OFF: Yankees-Red Sox ramp up rivalry, Ohtani could return to lineup, Cubs try again to play home opener
10:23PM ( 3 hours ago )
Thunder clinch: Oklahoma City runs past Miami 115-93
The playoffs await Russell Westbrook and the Thunder after a 115-93 win over Miami
10:07PM ( 3 hours ago )
Olympians back California plan for disclosures on doctors
Olympians who were abused by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar are supporting legislation that would make California the first state to require doctors to tell their patients if they are on probation
6:20PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Sports
Utah clinches, Philly locks up home-court for first round
Playoff picture starts to focus: Jazz seal their spot, and 76ers clinch home-court for the first round
1:36PM ( 12 hours ago )
D'Antoni, Harden and Paul poised to capture trio's 1st title
Mike D'Antoni, Chris Paul and James Harden look to end years of playoff misery and lead Houston Rockets to first title since 1995
2:51AM ( 22 hours ago )
Jazz clinch playoff spot in crowded Western Conference
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to help the Utah Jazz clinch a playoff berth with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers
9:38PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
Top 2 seeds set in East and West; everything else TBD
With five days left in the NBA season, there are five playoff spots and 12 seeds still to be decided
1:03AM ( 3 days ago )
76ers hold off LeBron, Cavs 132-130 for 13th straight win
Ben Simmons topped LeBron James in a triple-double battle to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 13th straight win in their biggest game in six years, 132-130 over the Cleveland Cavaliers
11:00PM ( 3 days ago )
Lakers unveil statue of Elgin Baylor outside Staples Center
The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor before facing the Minnesota Timberwolves
10:36PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit for Congress testimony
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit
1:34AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit to Congress testimony
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear a suit
1:31AM ( 15 minutes ago )
China's president offers US possible trade concessions
President Xi Jinping has promised to cut China's auto import taxes and improve intellectual property protection but mentioned no possible concessions that might defuse a worsening dispute with Washington over trade and technology
1:20AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Walker accuses Wisconsin Democrats of 'anger and hatred'
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is accusing Democrats of being driven by 'anger and hatred,' a line of attack the two-term incumbent began emphasizing last week that his opponents say more accurately reflects the tactics of President Donald Trump
1:08AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Pioneering black choreographer, director Donald McKayle dies
Donald McKayle, a modern dancer and choreographer who brought the black experience in America to the Broadway stage in musicals such as "Raisin" and "Sophisticated Ladies," has died
12:45AM ( 1 hour ago )