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NBA End of Season Playoff Race

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With the end of the NBA regular season less than two weeks away, teams in both conferences are in tight races to try and clinch their spots and positions in the postseason.
in the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Boston Celtics have long clinched the best record in the East, with an impressive 12-game lead on the second Milwaukee Bucks who are a game and a half ahead of the 3rd seeded Cleveland Cavaliers who are finally starting to get healthy.  After that though, the surprise 4th-seeded Orlando Magic and 8th Philadelphia 76ers are separated by just 3.5 games in the race to both escape the play-in and to try and have home-court advantage in a first-round series. If the season ended today, Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers would host Joel Embiid and the 76ers with the winner securing the 7th seed in the playoffs and the loser having to play the winner of the Bulls vs. the Hawks for just a chance at a date with Boston. The Magic and Knicks would face off in the first round. However, the 6th-seeded Miami Heat are only half a game up on Indiana with the teams set to play each other this Sunday with major ramifications. Both teams are hot as well, with the Heat being winners of three in a row and the Pacers 6-4 in the last ten games after struggling mightily after the all-star break trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2020 season. 

In the Western Conference, the race is its tightest at the top. The #1 seeded reigning champ Denver Nuggets, #2 Seeded Minnesota Timberwolves and the #3 seeded OKC Thunder are separated by just 1 game to see who will get home court throughout the West Playoffs. Two of the biggest stars in the league in Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors and Lebron James’s Lakers are all but locked into the dreaded 9-10 play-in game. Lastly, the 7th-seeded Sacramento Kings led by Domantas Sabonis, and 8th-seeded Phoenix Suns led by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are just one game behind the resurgent 6th New Orleans Pelicans and the 5th-seeded Dallas Mavericks for the last two guaranteed playoff spots. The Western Conference Playoffs are going to be an absolute blood bath this year. 

With each passing game taking on increased importance, the end of the regular season will be fun to watch for sure to see what the matchups will look like heading into the 2024 Playoffs.