The NBA playoffs and play-in tournament are fast approaching and the picture for the East and West is starting to take shape a bit. There’s still a ton that needs to be decided before the play-in tournament gets going on May 18. Let’s take a look at some notable matchups on Wednesday night and then go over clinching scenarios.
Clinching scenarios for Friday, May 14th via NBA.com
Dallas clinches a playoff spot with a win.
Philadelphia clinches division title and best record in East with a win.
Phoenix clinches division title with a loss by LA Clippers.
Washington clinches a Play-In spot with a win.
Notable matchups for Friday, May 14th
Cleveland Cavaliers (22-48) vs. Washington Wizards (32-38)
Believe it or not this is a big game for the Wizards, who can clinch a play-in tournament berth with a win. The Wizards are 2.0 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the 10-seed in the East with two games to play. This should be easy for Washington to seal up against a poor Cavs squad but Bradley Beal (hamstring) remains sidelined.
Toronto Raptors (27-43) vs. Dallas Mavericks (41-29)
The Mavericks need to hold off the Blazers and Lakers for the 5-seed to avoid playing the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. Dallas can lock up 5th place with a win over the Raptors on Friday night. They would increase their lead to 1.0 game on the Blazers and 1.5 on the Lakers.
New Orleans Pelicans (31-39) vs. Golden State Warriors (37-33)
The Dubs are trying to avoid dropping to the 9-10 game, though it may be in their best interest to avoid the Lakers in the 7-8 game. With that, we could see Golden State sit players and try to lose against the Pelicans to drop down to the easier contest against the San Antonio Spurs. This would also mean the Dubs would have to win two games, likely against the Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. The thing is, that may be easier than a one-game playoff vs. LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the end of the day.