James Harden.

The final round of NBA games - Every possible playoff scenario explained

Published Add your comment

After seven months and 2,431 games, the final round of fixtures in the 2015-16 NBA season takes place on Wednesday night.

Although every franchise barring the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are in action, a lot of the focus will, of course, be on the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of a 73-9 record and Kobe Bryant's final Lakers outing before retirement.

However, with the postseason now just a few days away, there are still several games taking place tonight with important playoff implications. Here, courtesy of the NBA, is a rundown of the ifs and buts regarding playoff seeding that will be resolved after tonight's action.

Have your say on GiveMeSport - NBA by taking part in our survey here:

Article continues below


First, those teams already secured in their position for the 2016 playoffs. The Golden State Warriors (1 seed), San Antonio Spurs (2), Oklahoma City Thunder (3), and Los Angeles Clippers (4) will all have home court advantage in round one.

Now the complicated part...

Portland Trail Blazers (43-38) - currently seeded fifth

Will stay in that position if they beat the Denver Nuggets or the Dallas Mavericks lose to the San Antonio Spurs.

Article continues below

Will be number 6 seed if they lose to the Nuggets and the Mavs upset the Spurs.

Dallas Mavericks (42-39) - currently seeded sixth

Will rise to number 5 seed if they win at home to San Antonio and Portland lose. 

Will stay at six if both they and the Trail Blazers win, or they and the Memphis Grizzlies both lose.

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

Memphis Grizzlies (42-39) - currently seeded seventh 

Will finish as the sixth seed if they win against the Golden State Warriors and Dallas loses to San Antonio.

Will stay seventh if they beat the Warriors but the Mavs beat the Spurs.

Houston Rockets (40-41) - currently seeded eighth

Will clinch the eighth playoff seed with victory over the Sacramento Kings as hold tie-breaker over ninth placed Utah Jazz courtesy of a 2-1 regular season record vs their rivals.

Utah Jazz (40-41) - currently seeded ninth

Will finish in the eighth spot if they beat the Los Angeles Lakers on the road and the Rockets lose to the Kings.

Will miss out on the playoffs with defeat to the Lakers.

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks


In the Eastern Conference, there are two first round playoff series already set in stone - (1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (8) Detroit Pistons and (2) Toronto Raptors vs (7) Indiana Pacers.


Miami Heat (48-33) - currently seeded third
Tiebreaker over Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets 

Will finish third if they beat the Boston Celtics.

Will fall to fifth seed if they lose to Boston and the Hornets lose to the Orlando Magic but the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards.

Will be sixth in the East with defeat against the Celtics and wins for both Atlanta and Charlotte.

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks (48-33) - currently seeded fourth
Tiebreaker over the Celtics and Hornets

Will move up to third if they win vs Washington and Miami lose to Boston.

Will stay at number four if they lose to the Wizards or if both they and Miami are victorious.

Boston Celtics (47-34) - currently seeded fifth
Tiebreaker over Charlotte and Miami

Will climb to four seed if they beat the Heat and Atlanta wins against Washington - pushing themselves to third.

Will stay in fifth if both they and Charlotte both lose, or if Boston wins vs Miami but the Hawks lose.

Will drop to sixth position with defeat against the Heat and a Hornets win.

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics

Charlotte Hornets (47-34) - currently seeded sixth

Will enter the playoffs as fifth seed if they beat the Magic and Miami beat Boston, or if they, the Celtics and the Hawks all win.

Will stay sixth if Orlando beat them, or if they and Boston both win but Atlanta lose to Washington.

Whatever happens, one this is for certain; we're in for a dramatic night of NBA action.

Charlotte Hornets
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Dallas Mavericks
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division
Portland Trail Blazers
Atlanta Hawks
NBA Playoffs
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets
James Harden

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport - NBA Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again