Push for the playoffs

    NBA teams fight to keep their season alive

    More stories from Scott Procter


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    The suspense of the NBA will extend until the final buzzer sounds as we head into the playoffs.

    With the NBA season set to officially end Wednesday night after a full slate of games, the playoff picture has become a sprint to the finish line for some teams. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets will essentially play a play-in game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference Wednesday evening. Things are a little less crazy in the East as the playoff field is set but the seedings have yet to be finalized.

    The only thing certain about the Western Conference playoff picture at this point is who is at the top. The league’s best team, the Houston Rockets, sits comfortably atop the wild West at 64-16 and await their likely first round opponent from the winner of the Wolves/Nuggets game.

    The defending champion Golden State Warriors are locked into the No. 2 seed and will also be paying attention to the season’s final games to see who they will open their repeat run with.

    With the Warriors’ two-time league Most Valuable Player (MVP), Stephen Curry, likely out for the first round, Golden State’s opening opponent could be in a position to knock off the reigning champions.

    As of right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder at the No. 7 seed await an opportunity for a star-studded series. With Kevin Durant’s departure from the Thunder to Golden State two seasons ago and the rivalry that has since ensued, this series will surely be one for the books if the two teams meet up.

    The Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs have all clinched a spot in the playoffs but also have the same amount of wins (47). What makes things even crazier is these four teams play a team with which they are tied on the season’s final night.

    The results will determine what seed they will get and who their first round opponent will be. While these teams control their own destiny for the final game, they may have added fuel, or maybe even attempt to lose the game to avoid a certain team.

    The biggest storyline heading into the playoffs in the East is the resurgence of the Philadelphia 76ers and their fight for the three seed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With two games left on each teams’ schedule, the 76ers gained the upper hand in the race with a home win over the Cavaliers on Friday for their 14th straight win.

    Cleveland will hold the tiebreaker if both teams end at 51-31 because of their better conference winning percentage. The race for the third seed becomes even more enticing because of a probable second round matchup against the Boston Celtics without their star, Kyrie Irving, who is out for the playoffs.

    With every playoff team in the East solidified and only seeding to be determined, the level of suspense is not as high as in the West.

    Basketball fans are in for a treat as we wrap up another regular season of NBA basketball. The spectacle that is the NBA Playoffs begins Apr. 14; sit back and enjoy.