NBA Playoff Picture: Everything at stake on the season's final day


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Either the Celtics or Cavs will end Wednesday with the East’s top seed. (AP)

The NBA’s regular season ends on Wednesday, which means that there’s only one day left to set the final standings and determine the shape of the playoff bracket. Fourteen of 16 playoff berths and six of eight first-round series have already been determined, but there are still plenty of seeds left to sort out.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

The following seeds have already been set:

3. Toronto Raptors
4. Washington Wizards
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Milwaukee Bucks

That leaves four spots to be decided, including the final two playoff berths in the conference. But we’ll start at the top, where the Celtics and Cavaliers must sort out which team gets homecourt advantage through the conference finals.

Boston Celtics

No. 1 if they beat the Bucks OR the Cavaliers lose to the Raptors
No. 2 if they lose to the Bucks and the Cavaliers beat the Raptors

Cleveland Cavalies

No. 1 if they beat the Raptors and the Celtics lose to the Bucks
No. 2 if they lose to the Raptors OR the Celtics beat the Bucks

Useful notes: It is probably in the Raptors’ best interest to rest players to better the Cavs’ chances of nabbing the No. 1 seed. Toronto can avoid playing the defending champions until the conference finals if they finish first. Or maybe it won’t matter — the Bucks will not play several rotation players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, in Boston:

Three teams are vying for two spots for the most complicated scenarios of the season’s final day. If the Heat nab one of these berths, they’ll have completed a stunning turnaround following an 11-30 start.

Indiana Pacers

No. 7 if they beat the Hawks OR the Bulls lose to the Nets and the Heat lose to the Wizards
No. 8 if they lose to the Hawks, the Bulls lose to the Nets, and the Heat beat the Wizards OR they lose to the Hawks, the Bulls beat the Nets, and the Heat lose to the Wizards
Eliminated if they lose to the Hawks, the Bulls beat the Nets, and the Heat beat the Wizards

Chicago Bulls

No. 7 if they beat the Nets and the Pacers lose to the Hawks
No. 8 if they beat the Nets and the Pacers beat the Hawks OR they lose to the Nets and the Heat lose to the Wizards
Eliminated if they lose to the Nets, the Pacers beat the Hawks, and the Heat beat the Wizards

Erik Spoelstra figures to get Coach of the Year consideration. (AP)

Miami Heat

No. 7 if they beat the Wizards, the Pacers lose to the Hawks, and the Bulls lose to the Nets
No. 8 if they beat the Wizards, the Pacers lose to the Hawks, and the Bulls beat the Nets OR they beat the Wizards, the Pacers beat the Hawks, and the Bulls lose to the Nets
Eliminated if they lose to the Wizards OR the Pacers beat the Hawks and the Bulls beat the Nets

Useful notes: The Nets have the NBA’s worst record but already played spoiler to the Bulls in a surprising win on Friday. However, Brooklyn will sit six rotation players on Wednesday — Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and Jeremy Lin will rest, and Quincy Acy, Joe Harris, and Sean Kilpatrick will all miss out on the game due to injury. Those absences should clear the way for the Bulls to clinch a playoff berth.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

All four first-round matchups have already been determined in the West. The only matter still to be resolved is which team gets homecourt advantage in the series between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.

The following seeds have already been set:

1. Golden State Warriors
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Houston Rockets
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Memphis Grizzlies
8. Portland Trail Blazers

Will Blake Griffin and the Clippers have homecourt advantage? (AP)

And the Clippers and Jazz still need to figure out where they’ll play four of their seven games.

Los Angeles Clippers

No. 4 if they beat the Kings OR the Jazz lose to the Spurs
No. 5 if they lose to the Kings and the Jazz beat the Spurs

Utah Jazz

No. 4 if they beat the Spurs and the Clippers lose to the Kings
No. 5 if they lose to the Spurs OR the Clippers beat the Kings

Useful notes: The Clippers obviously have the more favorable matchup, but Gregg Popovich played his key players for roughly 20 minutes apiece on Monday against the Blazers and probably won’t push anyone too hard. There’s an argument to be made that the Kings are a more difficult opponent given that they have nothing to play for and could relish the role of spoiler.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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