Will the Bulls and Nets avoid each other in the first round?
The 16 teams heading for the NBA playoffs have been decided, however there are seven decisive games on the final night of the regular season to determine seeding.
These seven games can all influence where teams end in the standings, and while none of the 16 playoff-bound sides will publicly admit preference, that could play a factor in certain games if they eye an ‘easier’ first round match-up.
Chicago Bulls vs Charlotte Bobcats: Both teams will be eager to win this for their own reasons. For Chicago, if they win and Toronto lose, then they will snatch the third seed. If Charlotte win, they could move into sixth provided Washington lose, and would therefore avoid a first round clash with Miami in the process.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: The Wizards could finish anywhere between 5-7 still, if they win and Brooklyn lose to Cleveland, they get the fifth seed. However, if they lose and Charlotte win, they will drop down to seventh and face the Heat.
Brooklyn Nets vs Cleveland Cavaliers: If the Nets win, they claim the fifth seed and will likely face Chicago. A Nets loss combined with a Wizards win drops Brooklyn to sixth, and although they would arguably prefer a first-round match-up with Toronto, it is a dangerous game to play.
Toronto Raptors vs New York Knicks: The Knicks are eliminated and have nothing to play for, but if the Raptors win, they claim third seed. A Raptors loss coupled with a Bulls win buts Chicago in third. Implications go further as a second round clash with Miami would await the third seed.
Dallas Mavericks vs Memphis Grizzlies: Simple scenario, the winner gets the seven seed while the loser goes in at the eighth spot and faces the San Antonio Spurs.
Detroit Pistons vs Oklahoma City Thunder: If the Thunder win, they are the No.2 seed in the West. If they lose and the Clippers win, then the Clippers climb above them.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Portland Trail Blazers: Clippers can move up to second with a win and a Thunder loss.
As last nights of the season go, there is still plenty to play for in the case of the teams detailed above, and it will undoubtedly go down to the wire to determine who will be facing who when the NBA playoffs get underway on Saturday.