Home » NBA Playoff and Play-In clinching scenarios: How Sunday’s games will impact 2024 standings, bracket | Sporting News United Kingdom

NBA Playoff and Play-In clinching scenarios: How Sunday’s games will impact 2024 standings, bracket | Sporting News United Kingdom

The NBA regular season comes to a close Sunday, though fans know they won’t have to wait long for even more meaningful basketball. The Play-In Tournament is set to start Tuesday, leading into the start of the playoffs on Saturday, April 20.

For 20 franchises, the dream will still be alive when the season ends on Sunday. We already know who they are: 10 teams have been eliminated from contention, leaving the remaining 20 to battle for seeding.

Because of the Play-In Tournament, just getting into the final 20 isn’t necessarily good enough. Teams will do everything they can to secure their spot in the playoffs with a top-six seed and get those extra days of rest. That fight will come down to Sunday for some.

Here’s a look at Sunday’s NBA schedule and which scenarios are still possible entering the final day of action.

MORE: Watch select NBA games with Sling

What NBA games are on today?

All 30 NBA teams are set to play Sunday, setting up for a thrilling finish to the regular season.

The Eastern Conference will play at 1 p.m. ET, with the Pistons the only exception because there are an uneven number of teams in each conference. Detroit will face the Spurs in a battle of two non-contenders at 3:30 p.m. ET, up against all the Western Conference action.

Plenty of games have potential seeding implications, even if they involve teams safely in the field already. 

Game Time (ET) TV channel Live stream
Wizards vs. Celtics 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Hornets vs. Cavaliers 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Hawks vs. Pacers 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Raptors vs. Heat 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Bulls vs. Knicks 1 p.m. ESPN Sling
Bucks vs. Magic 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Nets vs. 76ers 1 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Lakers vs. Pelicans 3:30 p.m. ESPN Sling
Jazz vs. Warriors 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Rockets vs. Clippers 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Suns vs. Timberwolves 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Trail Blazers vs. Kings 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Pistons vs. Spurs 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Mavericks vs. Thunder 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass
Nuggets vs. Grizzlies 3:30 p.m.   NBA League Pass

Today’s NBA playoff-clinching scenarios

The NBA released the possible scenarios for both conferences heading into Sunday. For the Eastern Conference, that includes three teams — the Bucks, Knicks and Cavaliers — jostling for the No. 2 seed.

The Western Conference will have three teams battling for the No. 1 seed in the Thunder, Timberwolves and Nuggets.

Here is the basic explanation of what could still happen:

East

  • No. 1 seed: Celtics
  • No. 2 seed: Bucks, Knicks or Cavaliers
  • No. 3 seed: Knicks, Bucks or Cavaliers
  • No. 4 seed: Cavaliers, Bucks or Knicks
  • No. 5 seed: Magic, Pacers, 76ers or Heat
  • No. 6 seed: Pacers, Magic, 76ers or Heat
  • No. 7 seed: 76ers, Magic, Pacers or Heat
  • No. 8 seed: Heat, Magic, Pacers or 76ers
  • No. 9 seed: Bulls
  • No. 10 seed: Hawks

West

  • No. 1 seed: Thunder, Timberwolves or Nuggets
  • No. 2 seed: Timberwolves, Thunder or Nuggets
  • No. 3 seed: Nuggets, Timberwolves or Thunder
  • No. 4 seed: Clippers
  • No. 5 seed: Mavericks
  • No. 6 seed: Pelicans or Suns
  • No. 7 seed: Pelicans or Suns
  • No. 8 seed: Lakers, Kings or Warriors
  • No. 9 seed: Kings, Lakers or Warriors
  • No. 10 seed: Warriors, Kings or Lakers

Updated NBA standings 2024

Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games Back
1. Celtics* 63-18
2. Bucks* 49-32 14
3. Knicks* 49-32 14
4. Cavaliers* 48-33 15
5. Magic 46-35 17
6. Pacers 46-35 17
7. 76ers 46-35 17
8. Heat 45-36 18
9. Bulls** 39-42 24
10. Hawks** 36-45 27
Nets 32-49 31
Raptors 25-56 38
Hornets 20-61 43
Wizards 15-66 48
Pistons 14-67 49

*clinched NBA Playoff berth

**clinched Play-In Tournament berth

Eliminated from NBA Playoff contention: Nets, Raptors, Hornets, Wizards, Pistons

Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games Back
1. Thunder* 56-25
2. Timberwolves* 56-25
3. Nuggets* 56-25
4. Clippers* 51-30 5
5. Mavericks* 50-31 6
6. Pelicans 49-32 7
7. Suns 48-33 8
8. Lakers** 46-35 10
9. Kings** 45-36 11
10. Warriors** 45-36 11
Rockets 40-41 16
Jazz 31-50 25
Grizzlies 27-54 29
Spurs 21-60 35
Trail Blazers 21-60 35

*clinched NBA Playoff berth

**clinched Play-In Tournament berth

Eliminated from NBA Playoff contention: Rockets, Jazz, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Spurs 

NBA Playoffs and Play-In Tournament bracket

The NBA Playoff bracket, including the Play-In Tournament, will be settled once Sunday’s games are done.

The Play-In Tournament is set to start on Tuesday, April 16, while the NBA Playoffs will begin on Saturday, April 20.

How will the 2024 NBA Playoffs work?

  • The NBA Play-In Tournament will be held after the conclusion of the 2023-24 regular season and before the start of the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The teams that finish No. 1-6 in the standings of each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots. Teams No. 7-10 will enter the Play-In Tournament.
  • Each conference’s No. 7 and No. 8 teams will face off, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The loser will still have one more opportunity to reach the playoffs.
  • Each conference’s No. 9 and No. 10 teams will face off, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the No. 7-vs.-No. 8 game. The loser of the No. 9-vs.-No. 10 game will be eliminated from playoff contention.
  • The loser of the No. 7-vs.-No. 8 game and the winner of the No. 9-vs.-No. 10 game will then play against each other. The winner of that game will be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.
  • Beyond the Play-In Tournament, the 2024 NBA Playoffs will follow the typical format, with full best-of-seven series all the way through the NBA Finals.