NBA playoff 2018 matchups after a wild final night of the season

There was nothing perfunctory about the final night of the NBA’s 2017-2018 season. There were 12 games on the schedule, including a de facto play-in game between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves that the Timberwolves won in overtime.

Even the 15 teams with playoff berths clinched had plenty at stake as zero playoff matchups were set. There were only teams locked into specific seeds after 81 games.

Here is a rundown of the matchups in each conference and how we got there. This was updated throughout the night.

NBA playoffs 2018


1. Raptors vs. 8. Wizards
2. Celtics vs. 7. Bucks
3. 76ers vs. 6. Heat
4. Cavaliers vs. 5. Pacers

East No. 1 seed: Toronto Raptors (59-23)

This was locked in before the night.

East No. 2 seed: Boston Celtics (55-27)

This was locked in before the night.

East No. 3 seed: Philadelphia 76ers (52-30)

The 76ers wrapped this up by walloping the Bucks in the season finale. Sixteen straight wins!

East No. 4 seed: Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32)

The Cavaliers lost to the Knicks at home by 12, but it wouldn’t have mattered.

East No. 5 seed: Indiana Pacers (48-34)

This is locked in.

East No. 6 seed: Miami Heat (44-38)

Miami got this spot by outlasting the Raptors in overtime and watching the Bucks decide not to show up against the 76ers. But given how great the 76ers are playing, maybe this was a pyrrhic victory?

East No. 7 seed: Milwaukee Bucks (44-38)

Lucky Bucks. They were obliterated by the 76ers, but fall safely into the No. 7 seed and a date with the banged-up Celtics thanks to …

East No. 8 seed: Washington Wizards (43-39)

The Wizards followed up a huge win over the Celtics … by losing to a Magic team with massive incentive to lose for lottery positioning. John Wall and Otto Porter didn’t play, but still. Typical of their season.


1. Rockets vs. 8. Timberwolves
2. Warriors vs. 7. Spurs
3. Blazers vs. 6. Pelicans
4. Thunder vs. 5. Jazz

West No. 1 seed: Houston Rockets (65-17)

This was locked in before the night.

West No. 2 seed: Golden State Warriors (58-24)

This was locked in before the night.

West No. 3 seed: Portland Trail Blazers (49-33)

Portland snapped a five-game losing streak with a comfortable win over a tired Utah team at home to earn a division title and this seed.

West No. 4 seed: Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34)

After all that, the Thunder have home-court advantage. A lot had to go right to get here. Oklahoma City beat Memphis as expected, then got two results go their way when the Pelicans beat the Spurs and the Blazers beat the Jazz. The Thunder were swept by Portland this year, but won three of four against Utah. Therefore, Portland’s win put OKC in a tie with Utah and New Orleans, and OKC had the best record in games involving the three teams.

West No. 5 seed: Utah Jazz (48-34)

This was worst-case scenario for the Jazz. A loss combined with a Thunder win dropped them here. Had the Thunder lost to Memphis, Utah would have been the No. 4 seed and faced the Pelicans.

West No. 6 seed: New Orleans Pelicans (48-34)

New Orleans saved themselves from a matchup against Houston or Golden State by demolishing San Antonio at home. They could have risen as high as No. 5 had the Jazz won, but will settle for the No. 6 seed.

West No. 7 seed: San Antonio Spurs (47-35)

San Antonio lost badly to the Pelicans in New Orleans and saw their seed drop when Oklahoma City beat Memphis as expected. They would’ve fallen all the way to No. 8 had the Nuggets defeated the Timberwolves.

West No. 8 seed: Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35)

They won an OT thriller vs. the Nuggets to make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. They could have moved up had New Orleans or Oklahoma City lost, but they did not. San Antonio owned the tiebreaker by virtue of a 2-1 head-to-head record.

West No. 9 seed: Denver Nuggets (46-36). This is not a playoff seed

Poor Denver.

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