The NBA Playoff picture is becoming clearer as we enter the last month of regulation basketball. LeBron James’ LA Lakers have fallen out of the running for the Western Conference 8th Seed and it looks like The King will not appear in the Finals for the 9th season in a row.

Eastern Conference

The East has a clear top 5 teams. Their standings on the final day of the season will have a major impact on who represents the Eastern Conference in this year’s finals. MVP-elect Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks team are on course for a record-breaking 60+ wins and should hold on to first place seeding.

Boston Celtics are clawing their way back to the top 4 in the standings and will be a tough match-up for anyone in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The 3 teams directly in front of the C’s are Philadelphia, Indiana and Toronto. With a key contest upcoming with the Pacers, their best chance seems to be overtaking them and then potentially facing them with home advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Western Conference

The Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets lead the way in a tightly packed Western Conference. Only 3 wins separate 3rd place Houston Rockets and 8th place LA Clippers and there are some exciting 1st Round match-ups in store in the west.

In particular, it looks like we can look forward to a 3-6 and 4-5 ties between a selection of the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Record-breaking James Harden has placed the Rockets back among the competition’s elite but MVP Candidate Paul George and triple-double machine Russell Westbrook will be confident of making a Finals run this year.

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