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Your 2015 NBA Western Conference playoff picture and tiebreaker guide

The Pelicans and Thunder went down to the final game with New Orleans advancing thanks to a tiebreaker.

It came down to the final day, but New Orleans is back in the playoffs. The Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder both finished with the same 45-37 record, but the Pels are moving on and the Thunder are headed home thanks to New Orleans owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. The fight for the No. 2 seed also came down to the final night with The Rockets ultimately snagging the spot.


Last updated: At 12:30 a.m. ET 4/15. The Pelicans knocked off the Spurs and secured the No. 8 seed. That eliminated the Thunder from the playoffs. It also dropped the Spurs to the No. 6 seed as Houston won to take the Southwest Division and the No. 2 seed. The Clippers slot in with the No. 3 seed.


Current playoff picture

This is the Too Long; Didn't Read version. If the season ended right this second, here are your first-round matchups. Teams in ALL CAPS are locked into their seeds.


Houston has home court advantage

CLIPPERS (3) vs. SPURS (6)


If you have a better record than the next team in line, tiebreakers don't matter. There is one quirky thing here: division winners cannot be seeded below No. 4, but division winners do not get home court advantage against teams higher than them in the standings in any case.

Here's the major jumble from the No. 2-6 spots.

2. Rockets    56-26  --
3. Clippers    56-26  --
4. Blazers     51-31  5
5. Grizzlies   55-27  1
6. Spurs   55-27  1

And here's the race for No. 8.

8. Pelicans    45-37  --
9. Thunder     45-37  --

Tiebreaker Situations

If teams finish tied in the standings, this is how berths and seeds will be determined.

MEMPHIS over Houston: The teams split the season series. But the Rockets can no longer finish with a better division or conference record than the Grizzlies, and Memphis' record against West playoff teams (regardless of whether OKC or New Orleans make it) is guaranteed to be better.

MEMPHIS over San Antonio: The teams split the season series. San Antonio cannot finish with a better divisional record and the Grizzlies have clinched a better record against the West.

SAN ANTONIO over Houston (head to head)

SOUTHWEST CHAMP over Los Angeles (division winner)

LOS ANGELES over San Antonio and Houston*: The Clippers split these season series, but neither the Spurs nor Rockets can finish with a better record against the West. This does not apply to whichever of the Spurs and Rockets win the Southwest. It does apply if Memphis wins the Southwest.

NEW ORLEANS over Oklahoma City (H2H)

Head-to-head data

This is the head-to-head data used in the above tiebreaker breakdown.

The following table shows each playoff contender's record against other playoff contenders. Records in BOLD indicate that one of the teams has clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker for the season. Records in ITALICS indicate a season series tie, in which case the next tiebreak comes into play. An asterisk indicates the teams will play only three times this season. Otherwise, the teams play each other four times.

GSW -- GSW 2-1* GSW 4-0 GSW 3-0* GSW 3-1 GSW 4-0 SAS 2-1* GSW 3-1 GSW 3-1 GSW 3-1
MEM GSW 2-1* -- 2-2 MEM 4-0 2-2 MEM 3-1 2-2 MEM 3-1 2-2 MEM 3-0
HOU GSW 4-0 2-2 -- POR 2-1* 2-2 HOU 3-1 SAS 3-1 HOU 3-0* 2-2 HOU 3-1
POR GSW 3-0* MEM 4-0 POR 2-1* -- LAC 3-1 2-2 POR 3-1 POR 3-1 POR 3-0* POR 3-1
LAC GSW 3-1 2-2 2-2 LAC 3-1 -- LAC 2-1* 2-2 LAC 2-1* LAC 2-1* LAC 4-0
DAL GSW 3-0 MEM 3-1 HOU 3-1 2-2 LAC 2-1* -- 2-2 DAL 3-1 DAL 3-1 PHX 3-1
SAS SAS 2-1* 2-2 SAS 3-1 POR 3-1 2-2 2-2 -- SAS 2-1* NOP 3-1 SAS 3-1
OKC GSW 3-1 MEM 3-1 HOU 3-0* POR 3-1 LAC 2-1* DAL 3-1 SAS 2-1* -- NOP 3-1 OKC 3-1
NOP GSW 3-1 2-2 NOP 3-1 POR 3-0* LAC 2-1* DAL 3-1 2-2 NOP 3-1 -- 1-1*
PHX GSW 3-1 MEM 3-0 HOU 3-1 POR 3-1 LAC 4-0 PHX 3-1 SAS 3-1 OKC 3-1 1-1* --

Be sure to check out our East Playoff Standings and Tiebreaker Guide.


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