Only three weeks left in the regular season! What’s at stake down the stretch? Here’s a look at the best playoff races with the latest BPI projections:
Note: Records, playoff odds through March 22.
Race for No. 1: Cavs vs. Celtics
Can the Cavaliers hang on to the East’s No. 1 seed and secure home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs? With the Celtics not far behind, an April 5 showdown in Boston could go a long way in deciding the conference’s regular-season champ.
BPI odds for No. 1: 65.2%
Next game: Friday at Hornets
BPI odds for No. 1: 34.3%
Next game: Friday at Suns
Race for No. 3: Wizards vs. Raptors
No. 3 in the East is a highly coveted spot, as it would delay a potential meeting with the defending champion Cavaliers until the conference finals. Toronto, while currently trailing Washington in the standings, has a slightly better chance at the No. 3 seed — according to BPI projections — due to the Wizards’ tougher remaining schedule.
BPI odds for No. 3: 49.0%
Next game: Thursday at Heat
BPI odds for No. 3: 43.9%
Next game: Friday vs. Brooklyn
Race for No. 8: Crowded at the bottom
The bottom half of the East bracket is still up for grabs with seven teams fighting for four spots. Currently, the Heat have the best odds of making the cut.
Race for No. 1: Warriors vs. Spurs
While the Warriors and Spurs may only be separated by 2.5 games, BPI still likes Steph Curry & Co. as an overwhelming favorite to clinch home-court throughout the entire playoffs. The rivals do face off once more (March 29 on ESPN), but San Antonio faces an uphill climb with eight of its final 12 games against current playoff teams.
Golden State Warriors
BPI odds for No. 1: 93.0%
Next game: Friday vs. Kings
San Antonio Spurs
BPI odds for No. 1: 7.0%
Next game: Thursday vs. Grizzlies
Race for No. 4: Jazz vs. Clippers
We’re likely to see a Jazz-Clippers first-round matchup, but which team will hold home-court advantage? This battle down the stretch — a virtual coin-flip at the moment — could help decide whether Utah or L.A. moves on for a potential second-round showdown with the Warriors. Both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies — still mathematically alive for the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds — hold slim chances of jumping in the standings, according to BPI.
BPI odds for No. 4: 48.3%
Next game: Thursday at Mavericks
BPI odds for No. 4: 47.4%
Next game: Saturday at Clippers
Race for No. 8: Nuggets vs. Blazers
The race for No. 8 in the West is a two-team battle. Both the Nuggets and Blazers have come alive down the stretch after sitting among the West’s lottery teams for much of the season. New Orleans (1.2%) and Dallas (0.7%), meanwhile, are long shots to secure the conference’s last playoff spot … and a likely first-round meeting with the Warriors.
BPI odds for No. 8: 51.2%
Next game: Friday at Pacers
Portland Trail Blazers
BPI odds for No. 8: 46.4%
Next game: Thursday vs. Knicks