NBA Playoff Scenarios 2013: How Next 2 Days Shape NBA Postseason Picture

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IApril 16, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 08:  Darius Morris #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot over Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on January 8, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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With superstars being rested throughout the league and Juwan Howard earning starts, the last two days of the NBA regular season may feel meaningless.

That is, unless you're highly invested in the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz or the ever-popular Juwan Howard Fan Club. 

While most teams have their playoff seeds locked in, those squads still have something—of varying levels of importance—to play for. Let's take a look at what exactly that is. 


Atlanta Hawks

Current Record: 44-36

Current Seed: No. 5

Potential Seed: No. 5 or 6

Remaining Games: vs. Toronto Raptors (Tuesday), at New York Knicks (Wednesday)

The Hawks can still technically switch spots with the Chicago Bulls, but with two games remaining, they control their own fate.

They should handle the Raptors, who they are 2-0 against this year, and while the Knicks are a dangerous 53-28, they trotted out a starting lineup of Pablo Prigioni, James White, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak and Chris Copeland on Monday, and lost to the Bobcats. 

Should the Knicks continue to rest their stars, the Hawks look primed to hold on to the No. 5 seed and meet up with the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs. 


Chicago Bulls

Current Record: 44-37

Current Seed: No. 6

Potential Seed: No. 5 or 6

Remaining Games: vs. Washington Wizards (Wednesday)

If the Bulls knock off John Wall and the Wizards at home on Wednesday, they only need Atlanta to drop one of its remaining games to move up a seed.

That's because Chicago went 2-1 against the Hawks this year, and thus owns the tiebreaker. 

For what it's worth, the Bulls went 3-1 against the No. 4 Nets (who they would play as the five seed) and just 1-3 against the No. 3 Indiana Pacers (who they are currently projected to play as the six seed). 

Denver Nuggets

Current Record: 56-25

Current Seed: No. 3

Potential Seed: No. 3 or 4

Remaining Games: vs. Phoenix Suns (Wednesday)

In order to hold secure the No. 3 seed, the Nuggets simply have to beat the lowly 25-56 Suns on Wednesday.

Barring some type of Goran Dragic magic trick, that should be a simple task. If the Suns find a way to pull off the upset, however, and the Los Angeles Clippers win their last two games, the Clips and Nuggs would switch places.

Denver won the season series, but Los Angeles' division title would trump that in the event of a tie. 


Los Angeles Clippers

Current Record: 54-26

Current Seed: No. 4

Potential Seed: No. 3 or 4

Remaining Games: vs. Portland Trail Blazers (Tuesday), at Sacramento Kings (Wednesday)

We already know what needs to happen for the Clips to earn the No. 3 seed, but they can also go backwards, as well. 

While losing the No. 4 spot is impossible (because they won their division), the Clippers can still lose home-court advantage if Memphis ends the season with a better record. 

Currently, both squads have the same amount of losses, meaning L.A. needs to beat the Trail Blazers and go into what will likely be an emotional environment in Sacramento and knock off the Kings to assure home-court advantage in the first round. 


Memphis Grizzlies

Current Record: 55-26

Current Seed: No. 5

Potential Seed: No. 5

Remaining Games: vs. Utah Jazz (Wednesday)

We learned last year how much of a back-and-forth battle it can be when Memphis and Los Angeles lock horns, so home-court advantage is obviously crucial. 

For that to happen for Memphis, the Grizzlies need to beat Utah and hope for a Clippers loss. While this is a must-win game for the Jazz, the Grizzlies are 2-1 in the season series this year. 


Golden State Warriors

Current Record: 46-35

Current Seed: No. 6

Potential Seed: No. 6 or 7

Remaining Games: at Portland Trail Blazers (Wednesday)

It's pretty simple for the Warriors. If they beat Portland on Wednesday, they get the No. 6 seed and face off against the Nuggets or Clippers.

If they lose and Houston wins its final game, however, the Warriors drop to No. 7 to play the San Antonio Spurs. 


Houston Rockets

Current Record: 45-36

Current Seed: No. 7

Potential Seed: No. 6, 7 or 8

Remaining Games: at Los Angeles Lakers (Wednesday)

Earn No. 6 If: They beat the Lakers and the Warriors lose to the Blazers

Earn No. 7 If: They beat the Lakers, but the Warriors also beat the Blazers

Earn No. 8 If: They lose to the Lakers. That would force a tie, which Los Angeles would win due to a better record against conference opponents. 


Los Angeles Lakers

Current Record: 44-37

Current Seed: No. 8

Potential Seed: No. 7, No. 8 or miss playoffs

Remaining Games: vs. Houston Rockets (Wednesday)

Earn No. 7 If: They beat the Rockets.

Earn No. 8 If: They lose to the Rockets, but the Jazz also lose to the Grizzlies. 

Miss Playoffs If: They lose to the Rockets, and the Jazz beat the Grizzlies. 


Utah Jazz 

Current Record: 43-38

Current Seed: Outside looking in

Potential Seed: No. 8 or miss playoffs

Remaining Games: at Memphis Grizzlies (Wednesday)

As I'm sure you've already figured out by now, the Jazz must win at Memphis, and hope the Lakers lose at home to the Rockets. 



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