February 23, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

NBA playoff picture: Warriors closer to home-court advantage in West; Lakers back in play-in … for now

NBA playoff picture: Warriors closer to home-court advantage in West; Lakers back in play-in … for now

The Golden State Warriors won their eighth straight game at home on Monday, defeating the Phoenix Suns to move into the West’s No. 5 seed. The Warriors now trail Phoenix by two games in the loss column with 13 to play, though that margin is effectively three with Phoenix having secured the tiebreaker. 

Also on Monday in the Western Conference: The Grizzlies jumped Sacramento back into the No. 2 seed, and the Lakers are back in the play-in … for now. 

Below is a comprehensive snapshot of where things stand in the Western Conference playoff and play-in races entering play on Tuesday. This post will update daily throughout the remainder of the regular season, or until all seeds are clinched. 

Reminder on how the play-in tournament works: No. 7 plays No. 8 and No. 9 plays No. 10. The winner of the 7-8 game gets the No. 7 seed, while the loser plays the winner of the 9-10 game for the  No. 8 seed. 

READ: Eastern Conference playoff picture

NOTE: Our SportsLine model, developed by predictive data engineer Stephen Oh, simulates the entire season 10,000 times to produce the most unbiased and precise projections imaginable.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

The Nuggets have an effective five-game lead in the loss column over the No. 2 Grizzlies with the tiebreaker secured. 

  • Projected seed: 1
  • Current first-round matchup: TBD
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis: Denver has clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Season series tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Denver leads season series 2-0 with two to play

Memphis jumped Sacramento, which lost to Milwaukee on Monday, with its win over Dallas. 

  • Projected seed: 2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Timberwolves-Mavericks play-in winner
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver: Nuggets have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Kings currently own via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Grizzlies own via division leader

3. Sacramento Kings (40-27)

Sacramento falls behind Memphis after falling vs. Milwaukee on Monday. Fortunately, the No. 4 Suns lost as well, so the Kings maintain a cushion with one head-to-head matchup remaining. 

  • Projected seed: 3
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Clippers
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis: Kings currently own via conference win percentage 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play

4. Phoenix Suns (37-31)

The Suns fell to Golden State on Monday and now lead the No. 5 Warriors by just two in the loss column, though that lead is effectively three as Phoenix has sealed the tiebreaker. 

  • Projected seed: 4
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Warriors
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis: Grizzlies own via division leader
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Phoenix leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Suns have clinched 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Suns currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play

5. Golden State Warriors (36-33)

The Warriors are back at No. 5 in the nightly round of musical chairs that is the Western Conference mid-seed playoff race. They trail the No. 4 Suns by an effective three games in the loss column with 13 left to play. 

  • Projected seed: 6
  • Current first-round matchup: at Suns
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns have clinched 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Warriors clinched

6. Los Angeles Clippers (36-33)

The Clippers are tied in the loss column with the No. 5 Warriors with one matchup remaining. They trail the No. 4 Suns by just two in the loss column with one head-to-head matchup remaining. 

  • Projected seed: 5
  • Current first-round matchup: at Suns
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves: Wolves clinched 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Mavericks currently own via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans lead 1-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Jazz clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Clippers clinched

Play-In Tournament

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (35-34)

Minnesota defeated Atlanta on Monday and is one game up in the loss column on the 8-11 seeds. 

  • Projected seed: 9
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Mavericks (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Wolves clinched 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Wolves clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Wolves currently own via division record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Wolves clinched

8. Dallas Mavericks (34-35)

In their quest to climb above the play-in line, Dallas is now two back of the No. 6 Clippers with the tiebreaker currently in their favor, and two back of the No. 5 Warriors with one head-to-head matchup remaining. 

  • Projected seed: 7
  • Current first-round matchup: at Timberwolves (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Suns owns via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves: Wolves clinched 
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Dallas currently owns via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play

9. Los Angeles Lakers (33-35)

The Lakers currently sit in a three-way tie with the No. 10 Pelicans and No. 11 Thunder. In tiebreaker scenarios that include more than two teams, the nod, in order, goes to the team with the best win percentage in all head-to-head matchups among the teams involved. 

  • Projected seed: 8
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Pelicans (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Clippers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Lakers lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Jazz lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland: Blazers currently own via conference win percentage

10. New Orleans Pelicans (33-35)

See Lakers section for three-way tie breakdown. 

  • Projected seed: 10
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State: Pelicans lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves:  Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Mavericks lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Jazz clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Los Angeles leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: Pelicans clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland: Pelicans clinched

Outside Looking In

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-35)

See Lakers section for three-way tie breakdown. 

  • Projected seed: Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: OKC leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland: OKC clinched

12. Utah Jazz (33-36)

Utah lost a tight one in Miami on Monday and sits one loss out of a play-in spot. 

  • Projected seed: Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Jazz Clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Jazz lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: Thunder lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland: Blazers lead 2-1 with one to play

The Blazers are fading having lost seven of their last 10. 

  • Projected seed: Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah: Blazers lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers: Blazers currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans: Pelicans clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC: Thunder clinched