NBA playoff scenarios: Grizzlies and Mavericks play for positioning, Wizards still in limbo

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The third through seventh seeds in the Eastern Conference are to-be-determined in the final day of the regular season, as are four seeds out west.

The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are locks in the Eastern Conference's first and second slots, as are the Atlanta Hawks in the eighth. In between, there's a lot of shifting that could occur in the NBA's final day of the regular season.

Out in the Western Conference, there's still a shot the Thunder could lose their second-place spot to the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Mavs and Grizzlies square off to decide who gets the seventh and eighth seeds.

Eastern Conference 3-4 seeds

Raptor Revival

Toronto and Chicago enter the final day of the regular season with equivalent 48-33 records, but the Atlanta Division champion Raptors own the tiebreaker because of their division title. So it'll come down to the Bulls winning and the Raptors losing on Wednesday if a swap is going to happen. Toronto faces a Knicks team without anything but pride to play for, while Chicago plays on the road against a Charlotte squad fighting for its own postseason positioning.

Depending on the Raptors' and Bulls' own final seeding and how the fifth, sixth and seventh seeds shake out, Brooklyn, Washington and Charlotte are still possible opponents for either squad in the first round of the playoffs.

Eastern Conference 5-7 seeds

With the Brooklyn Nets sitting in fifth place with 44 wins, the Washington Wizards a game behind them at 43 wins and the Charlotte Bobcats another game behind at 42 wins, there's a lot that could go on here. The Bobcats certainly don't want to play the No. 2 seeded Miami Heat and would need a win against Chicago plus a Wizards loss to the Celtics to hop into the sixth seed -- Charlotte has a 3-1 tiebreaker over Washington on the year.

If the Wizards win they not only avoid Miami and secure the sixth seed at worst, but could move into fifth place with a Nets loss at Cleveland. Brooklyn lost all three games to John Wall's crew this season, and thus the tiebreaker.


John Wall averaged 23.7 ppg against the Nets this season/Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference 2-3 seeds

The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently clinging to a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers. To lose the second place spot, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would have to drop their final game to the lowly Detroit Pistons, and then the Clippers would need to beat the Portland Trail Blazers, who don't have a lot to play for since they're locked into the fifth place slot.

The second seed gets the winner between the Dallas-Memphis game on Wednesday, and the third seed gets to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

Western Conference 7-8 seeds

This one is easy. The Mavericks and Grizzlies face off in the final game of the year, and the loser will get to face the San Antonio Spurs. The winner gets the better seed between the Thunder and Clippers, which on paper heading into Wednesday looks to be Oklahoma City.

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