NBA standings: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for final spots in 2020 playoffs

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(Getty Images)

Brace yourselves, basketball fans. The 2020 NBA playoffs are almost here.

Heading down the final stretch of the regular season, there isn't much mystery about which teams will reach the postseason. Barring a major losing streak by the Nets or Magic, the Eastern Conference has its eight participants in place. The top seven teams in the Western Conference should all earn playoff berths soon, but the race for the last spot could come down to a few key games in late March and early April.

MORE: Latest standings | Daily NBA schedule

There should still be a bit of drama with the seedings in flux and contenders fighting for playoff position. A good matchup could be the difference between cruising through the first round or facing elimination sooner than expected.

Here's a snapshot of the current NBA playoff picture, including standings and potential matchups for each conference.

NBA standings 2020: Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Bucks* 53-12
2. Raptors* 46-18 6.5
3. Celtics* 43-21 9.5
4. Heat 41-24 12
5. Pacers 39-26 14
6. 76ers 39-26 14
7. Nets 30-34 22.5
8. Magic 30-35 23
Wizards 24-40 28.5
Hornets 23-42 30
Bulls 22-43 31
Knicks 21-45 32.5
Pistons 20-46 33.5
Hawks 20-47 34
Cavaliers 19-46 34

*clinched playoff berth

NBA standings 2020: Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Lakers* 49-14
2. Clippers 44-20 5.5
3. Nuggets 43-22 7
4. Jazz 41-23 8.5
5. Thunder 40-24 9.5
6. Rockets 40-24 9.5
7. Mavericks 40-27 11
8. Grizzlies 32-33 18
Trail Blazers 29-37 21.5
Pelicans 28-36 21.5
Kings 28-36 21.5
Spurs 27-36 22
Suns 26-39 24
Timberwolves 19-45 30.5

*clinched playoff berth

Eliminated from playoff contention: Warriors

(Note: Full NBA rules for tiebreakers can be found HERE.)

NBA playoff matchups 2020

Here's what the NBA's first-round playoff matchups would be if the regular season ended today.

Eastern Conference

(1) Bucks vs. (8) Magic

(2) Raptors vs. (7) Nets

(3) Celtics vs. (6) 76ers

(4) Heat vs. (5) Pacers

Western Conference

(1) Lakers vs. (8) Grizzlies

(2) Clippers vs. (7) Mavericks

(3) Nuggets vs. (6) Rockets

(4) Jazz vs. (5) Thunder

NBA playoff picture: Seeding breakdowns

(Remaining strength of schedule via Tankathon and playoff probability via FiveThirtyEight)

Eastern Conference

1. Bucks

Remaining games: 17

Remaining strength of schedule: .502

Playoff probability: In

2. Raptors

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .512

Playoff probability: In

3. Celtics

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .494

Playoff probability: In

4. Heat

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .484

Playoff probability: 99 percent

5. Pacers

Remaining games: 17

Remaining strength of schedule: .503

Playoff probability: 99 percent

6. 76ers

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .450

Playoff probability: 99 percent

7. Nets

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .507

Playoff probability: 98 percent

8. Magic

Remaining games: 17

Remaining strength of schedule: .467

Playoff probability: 99 percent

Still in play: Wizards (two percent)

Western Conference

1. Lakers

Remaining games: 19

Remaining strength of schedule: .471

Playoff probability: In

2. Clippers

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .465

Playoff probability: 99 percent

3. Nuggets

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .537

Playoff probability: 99 percent

4. Jazz

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .515

Playoff probability: 99 percent

5. Thunder

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .501

Playoff probability: 99 percent

6. Rockets

Remaining games: 18

Remaining strength of schedule: .492

Playoff probability: 99 percent

7. Mavericks

Remaining games: 16

Remaining strength of schedule: .537

Playoff probability: 99 percent

8. Grizzlies

Remaining games: 17

Remaining strength of schedule: .575

Playoff probability: 15 percent

Still in play: Pelicans (60 percent), Trail Blazers (14 percent), Kings (nine percent), Spurs (two percent)

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